UK to extend covid-19 lockdown for another three weeks as death toll passes 11,000
London, April 14, 2020 (AltAfrica)-UK coronavirus lockdown will continue for at least three more weeks with the pandemic peak still days away.
Stand-in PM Dominic Raab is set to announce on Thursday that the country’s restrictions will stay in place until at least May 7.
Mr Raab said the UK was “still not past the peak of this virus” as he warned of a “long way to go” in the battle against Covid-19.
Chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Valance also braced the nation for a “difficult” week of death figures ahead before they expect the fatality rate to begin to slow.
But he said that plateau in coronavirus deaths is likely to last for two to three weeks before we see a fall.
Mr Raab is set to ask Scotland’s First minister Nicola Sturgeon and leaders from Wales and Northern Ireland to attend a Cobra meeting to ensure there is a UK-wide agreement on the lockdown.
But senior ministers are split on whether to encourage some people who cannot work from home to return to their places of employment, The Times reports.
Some within the government have been shocked at the number of people using Number 10’s furlough scheme which is costing billions and risks severely damaging the UK economy.
But others such as Health Secretary Matt Hancock are reportedly against the idea of encouraging people to return to work as they believe it would undermine the “stay at home” message.
Yesterday Britain’s daily death toll fell for the second day with another 717 passing away from the horrific respiratory illness.
It came as the number of coronavirus cases worldwide has passed two million, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University in the US.
But scientists have warned that the country will likely endure the peak of the pandemic next week.
In the government’s press briefing yesterday, Mr Raab confirmed the lockdown would not be lifted this week.
Evidence suggests Britain is still going through the peak of the virus and the death rate will continue to go up for days to come.
Mr Raab said the UK lockdown had been a success over the Easter bank holiday weekend, despite police having to take action to stop Brits flocking to parks in some areas to soak up the sun
He said: “This week SAGE (scientific advisory group for emergencies) will review the measures.
“We will consider their assessment based on the evidence at that point.
“We don’t expect to make any changes.
“And we won’t until we are as confident as we can be that any such changes can be made.”
He said it was “far too early” to talk about lifting the lockdown and that any suggestion of relaxing the restrictions would be “getting ahead of ourselves”.
SAGE are due to meet this week and look at all the lockdown evidence and how successful it’s been.
But as Britain’s death numbers continue to rise by greater numbers, there are no plans to lift strict measures until they start to flatten.
Mr Raab said: “We were concerned that people might start cutting corners or ignoring the advice, in fact the vast majority followed it.
“At the moment, the evidence suggests we are still going through the peak of this crisis.
“It is absolutely, crucially important that we don’t take our eye off the ball…
“We have lost too many loved ones, made too many sacrifices to give up now.”
Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said it would be a “difficult” week, and added: “We’re tracking behind Italy – this week we’re going to see a further increase, thereafter we should see a plateau.
“That may last for some time before we see a decrease.