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Coronavirus: UK lockdown extended for 'at least' three weeks


Lockdown restrictions in the UK will continue for "at least" another three weeks as it tackles the coronavirus outbreak, Dominic Raab has said.

The foreign secretary told the daily No 10 briefing that a review had concluded relaxing the measures now would risk harming public health and the economy.

"We still don't have the infection rate down as far as we need to," he said.

It comes as the UK recorded another 861 coronavirus deaths in hospital, taking the total to 13,729.

Strict limits on daily life - such as requiring people to stay at home, shutting many businesses and preventing gatherings of more than two people - were introduced on 23 March, as the government tried to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Ministers are required by law to assess whether the rules are working, based on expert advice, every three weeks.

Mr Raab, deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovers from the illness, said: "There is light at the end of the tunnel but we are now at both a delicate and a dangerous stage in this pandemic.

"If we rush to relax the measures that we have in place we would risk wasting all the sacrifices and all the progress that has been made.

"That would risk a quick return to another lockdown with all the threat to life that a second peak to the virus would bring and all the economic damage that a second lockdown would carry."

Mr Raab said the review concluded that the measures were working, but there was evidence the infection was spreading in hospitals and care homes.

He said five conditions needed to be met before the lockdown was eased:

1. Making sure the NHS could cope

2. A "sustained and consistent" fall in the daily death rate

3. Reliable data showing the rate of infection was decreasing to "manageable levels"

4. Ensuring the supply of tests and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) could meet future demand

5. Being confident any adjustments would not risk a second peak


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