Coronavirus: UK lockdown extended for at least three more weeks

17th April 2020

The lockdown extension comes after another 861 people with coronavirus were confirmed to have died in UK hospitals.

The UK’s coronavirus lockdown will remain in place for at least another three weeks, the government has announced.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovers from COVID-19, said experts had warned that relaxing the lockdown would “risk damage to both public health and the economy”.

Speaking at Downing Street’s daily coronavirus news briefing, Mr Raab said: “The government has decided that the current measures must remain in place for at least the next three weeks.”

He added that the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) had advised that “relaxing any of the measures in place” would “undo the progress we have made”.

The extension takes the lockdown to at least 7 May, and Mr Raab hinted it would likely go further in light of a previous suggestion by the prime minister that the UK could “turn the tide” of the virus within 12 weeks.

Mr Johnson made the comment on 19 March, and Mr Raab admitted that was “broadly the outline” for when the UK might expect to return to some normalcy.

Mr Raab laid out five factors the government “must be satisfied of” before considering changes to the lockdown:

Confidence that the NHS can still provide sufficient critical care and specialist treatment across the UK

The need to see a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rate to be confident we are beyond the peak

Reliable data from SAGE that the infection rate has decreased to manageable levels.

Testing capacity and PPE is in hand to meet supply for future demand

Not risk a second peak of infection that overwhelms the NHS

Mr Raab said: “We’ve come too far, lost too many loved ones and sacrificed too much to let up now – especially when we are now beginning to see that our efforts are paying off.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we are at a delicate and dangerous stage of this pandemic.”