April 16, 2020 5.13 pm This story is over 27 months old

It’s official: Lockdown extended for three more weeks

Stay at home

The UK will remain in lockdown for a further three weeks as the nation continues its fight against coronavirus.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed that social distancing measures will remain in place until at least the first week in May.

The restrictions were first announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is recovering from coronavirus at Chequers, on March 23.

Mr Raab said there was indications that the lockdown was working, but that the data was “mixed and inconsistent”.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed that lockdown would continue in its current form for another three weeks. Picture: UK Prime Minister Twitter.

“We still do not have the infection rate down as far as we need to,” he said.

He added that the government needed to be confident that any relaxation will not risk a second peak of the virus.

Mr Raab reiterated that the lockdown will not lifted “until it is safe to do so”.

The measures will now remain in place until at least May 7. Ministers will then review the lockdown and decide whether or not to relax restrictions.

Other countries in Europe, such as Spain, have started to lift lockdown measures after new infection rates began to fall.

Pelham bridge is a sight to behold without cars. Photo: Joshua Bell

But Professor Derek Ward, director of public health at Lincolnshire County Council, warned against any “too much, too fast” strategy in the UK.

He said the plan which ministers and scientists come up with will be important to tackle the virus over the coming months.

“The strategy at the moment to a large extent has been to come inside our castle, pull up the drawbridge and fight off the invaders that are inside the castle,” he said.

“But at some point we are going to have to lower down the bridge. The strategy over the next two or three weeks is going to be important.”

Professor Ward added that when measures are relaxed he would expect a similar plan to Germany where schools are among the first areas to be reopened.

Meanwhile, the UK-wide death toll increased by 861 to 13,729 today.

The Department of Health confirmed that 103,093 cases have now been tested positive, a rise of 4,618.

Follow our latest coronavirus lockdown updates here