Lock down restrictions in the UK will continue for “at least” another three weeks as it tackles the coronavirus outbreak, Dominic Raab,The Foreign secretary has said.
Raab told Media in Britain 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, deputizing 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 lock down with all the threat to life that a second peak to the virus would bring and all the economic damage that a second lock down 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 he could not provide a definitive timeline, but said the prime minister’s warning at the outset of the epidemic that it would take about three months to come through the peak still applied.
“We know it is rough going. Every time I come to this lectern and read out the grim toll, I walk away and think of their sons and daughters going through this right now, their brothers, sisters, grandchildren, all those left behind,” Mr Raab said.
“It makes this government focus even harder on what we must do and I know together, united, we must keep up this national effort.”