The UK government has set out five key targets it wants to achieve before lifting the coronavirus lockdown, which is set to continue for at least three more weeks.
Speaking at Downing Street on Thursday (April 16) evening, Dominic Raab said the government wants to be confident of five things before Brits can once again return to normal life.
The Foreign Secretary, who is currently deputising for PM Boris Johnson while he recovers from COVID-19, told reporters: “Let me set out five things that the government will need to be satisfied of before we will consider it safe to adjust any of the current measures.”
“First, we must protect the NHS’ ability to cope. We must be confident that we’re able to provide sufficient critical care and specialist treatment right across the UK.
“The NHS staff have been incredible. We must continue to support them as much as we can.
“Second, we need to see a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates from coronavirus, so we’re confident we’ve moved beyond the peak.
“Third, we need to have reliable data showing the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels across the board.
The worst thing we could do right now is to ease up too soon.
“Fourth, we need to be confident that the range of operational challenges – including testing capacity and PPE – are in hand, with supply able to meet future demand.
“Fifth, and this is really crucial, we must be confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections that overwhelms the NHS. The worst thing we could do right now is to ease up too soon.”
Lockdown to continue
Speaking at the same press conference, Mr Raab said the UK’s lockdown would continue for “at least” another three weeks.
The government, he said, will review the restrictions in May.
The Foreign Secretary said: “The government has decided the current measures must remain in place for at least the next three weeks.”
Mr Raab was also pressed to reveal whether Brits should expect the lockdown to continue for three weeks or three months.
He answered: “The Prime Minister said at the outset that it would take three months to come through the peak. I think that is still broadly the outline. We can’t give a definitive time frame.”
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