What you need to know about coronavirus this morning as PM Boris Johnson returns to number 10

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Boris Johnson has returned to Downing Street, having returned to take charge of the government’s response to the coronavirus epidemic.

The Prime Minister resumes full-time office at the head of the government three weeks after his hospitalization for the disease.

He will chair the regular morning meeting of the Covid-19 government’s “war cabinet” before beginning a series of meetings with ministers and senior officials.

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab – who replaced him in his absence – said he was “impatient to leave” after a fortnight of recovery at Checkers, his official residence in the countryside.

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He returned on Sunday evening with growing clamor from the senior Conservatives to start lifting the lockdown amid growing concern over the damage it is causing to the economy.

Scientists informing the government have warned that any loosening could escalate the outbreak just as the number of patients hospitalized for the disease begins to decline.

Over the weekend, ministers highlighted the warning from the Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, of the economic devastation that a second wave of the disease would cause.

Raab said epidemic is “delicate and dangerous” and people should get used to “new normal” – with social distancing measures that should stay in place for “a while” .

Johnson – who spent a week at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, including three nights of intensive care – is determined to make sure there is no second peak.

Pressure to start easing the restrictions came from a string of wealthy Conservative supporters who called over the weekend for the government to allow the economy to restart.

They echoed former Chancellor Philip Hammond who said the country could not afford to wait for a vaccine to be developed, saying “the economy will not survive as long.”

Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the 1922 Conservative Backcountry Committee, told BBC Radio 4 Westminster Hour that more had to be done to move the economy, and that there was a time limit during which people would tolerate restrictions, especially if they seemed illogical.

He advocated an “imperative principle … that we will only maintain the restrictions that are necessary and if there is a question of whether something is necessary or not, I think we should be on the side of openness and try to make it so that the more people can go back to their lives and the more people can go back to work. “

The Prime Minister, on the other hand, has less than two weeks before the next major decision point results in the next three-week review of the lockdown restrictions scheduled for May 7.

Raab said the government was doing its “homework” in anticipation of when the rules could be relaxed.

It is believed that among the first could be a reopening of schools, although Mr. Raab said it would be “inconceivable” without new measures being put in place.

The ministers would also consider authorizing the opening of certain non-essential businesses such as garden centers and car showrooms, provided that social distancing can be maintained.

Raab also said authorities are considering possible checks at air and sea ports with passengers arriving in the UK who are required to quarantine for 14 days.

This could be part of the next step in the government’s response – the so-called “test, follow-up and traceability” strategy designed to further curb the spread of the disease by isolating new cases.

However, government scientific and medical experts have indicated that the current infection rate will have to drop further before such tactics can be effective.

In the meantime, ministers have insisted that the rest be on track to meet Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s goal of 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month, which falls on Thursday.

Raab said this weekend that testing capacity has risen to more than 50,000 – although according to the latest official figures, the numbers achieved only reach 29,000.

The ministers hope they will resume as NHS staff and other key workers return to work after the weekend.

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