Tonight, Dominic Raab – who replaces Boris Johnson while PM is in intensive care – said the worst thing the country could do is “get off the pedal”.
He said it was too early to consider lifting the restrictions – that the British can only leave their homes for essential travel and exercise.
When the lockdown was announced on March 23, Johnson said the unprecedented measure would be reviewed after three weeks – which means it could have been lifted early next week.
But the UK cannot safely change the rules, said Raab.
Nonetheless, government science director Sir Patrick Vallance said there were encouraging signs that the lock was working.
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Raab said: “As far as the review is concerned, we are not there yet.
“We will make any decision when the time comes, based on scientific and medical facts and advice.
“Our number one and overarching goal right now is to get the key message out that everyone should continue to follow these guidelines.
“There is a long Easter holiday weekend ahead, hot weather and we understand that people are making great sacrifices to follow these guidelines.
“It helps, it helps our ability to fight the coronavirus.
“The worst thing now would be to step out of the way, slow it down and risk losing the gains that have been made.
“It is absolutely essential that people maintain this discipline and the vast majority will. We hope everyone will follow this example. “
Government science director Sir Patrick said the number of new cases “may be going in the right direction”, but it would not be clear “for about a week”.
He told the Downing Street daily press conference: “It is possible that we are starting to see a start of change in terms of the flattening of the curve.
“We certainly won’t know for about a week.
“There was no accelerated takeoff and again, we may start to see the start of a change where we could see the numbers flattening out.
“This is starting to suggest that things could be going in the right direction in terms of numbers and it is important that we continue with the measures we have put in place to make sure it is going in the right direction. “
The four reasons why you can now leave your home are:
- shop for basic necessities as rarely as possible
- some form of exercise per day – for example, running, walking or biking – alone or with members of your household
- any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- travel to and from work, but only when absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home
Raab said he was confident that Mr. Johnson would make it because “he is a fighter.”
“It remained stable overnight. He receives standard oxygen treatment and breathes without any help.
“He did not need mechanical ventilation or non-invasive breathing assistance,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Scientists say the next few days will be the deadliest phase of the UK coronavirus epidemic, which has already killed at least 6,159 people.