At least three more weeks of coronavirus lockdown announced


The UK government has made a decision to extend lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus for another three weeks, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is now standing in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson amid his recovery from COVID-19, said on Thursday.

Professor Linda Bauld, a public health expert from the University of Edinburgh, said: "Any lifting is risky, but it is imperative that governments across the United Kingdom start sharing with the public what the options will be here".

"Third, we need to have reliable data showing the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels across the board".

Britain extended its nationwide lockdown on Thursday as stand-in leader Dominic Raab ordered Britons to stay at home for at least another three weeks to prevent the spread of a coronavirus outbreak which has already claimed over 138,000 lives globally.

The advice was that relaxing any of the measures would risk damage to public health and the economy, he said.

"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".

The extension takes the lockdown to at least 7 May, and Mr Raab hinted it would likely go further.

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He added: "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 now at both a delicate and a risky stage in this pandemic.

"That would threaten a second peak of the virus, and substantially increase the number of deaths".

"It would undo the progress we have made to date and as a result would require an even longer period of the more restrictive social distancing measures".

Lockdown will continue for another three weeks.

The Foreign Secretary said infected people were now passing the disease to fewer than one other person on average, but it was still not low enough.

Mr Raab said there were still "issues with the virus spreading in some hospitals and in care homes".