Dominic Raab tonight, speaking from the daily press briefings at Downing Street, said the Government would be extending the lockdown. The measures are some of the most Draconian the UK has ever seen during peacetime years, and are set to be reviewed every three weeks by the Government.
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Speaking from Downing Street tonight, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK would be extending the lockdown for another three week period, subject to further review down the line.
Mr Raab said lifting the lockdown measures now would cause further detriment to not only public health, but also the economy in the long run.
Confirming the extension, Mr Raab said: “Earlier today I chaired meetings of the Cabinet and Cobra to consider the advice from Sage on the impact of the existing social distancing measures.
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“There are indications that the measures we have put in place have been successful in slowing down the spread of the virus.
“But Sage also say that it is a mixed and inconsistent picture and, in some settings, infections are still likely to be increasing.”
The rate of infection, also known as the R0 value, was “almost certainly below one in the community”, meaning infected people were passing on the virus to fewer that one other person.
Mr Raab added: “But overall, we still don’t have the infection rate down as far as we need to.”
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Mr Raab also said the Government was being “as open as we responsibly can be at this stage”.
He added: “It would not be responsible to prejudge the evidence that Sage will have and review in just a few weeks’ time.”
The Foreign Secretary said the Government was closely following what is happening in other countries but “we’ve got to do what is right for the British people based on the advice of our experts, grounded in the conditions prevailing here in the UK.”
Some countries across Europe which introduced lockdown measures before the UK are now starting to ease them.
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Countries that are down this included Australia, Italy, Germany and Spain.
But they continue to implement social distancing measures, which reduce close contact between individuals and prohibit public gatherings.
The announcement comes after a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee, which involved the First Ministers of northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
In Scotland, another 80 people have passed away in hospitals as a result of the virus.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the lockdown should not be lifted because “we are not confident enough that the virus has been suppressed sufficiently”.
Wales also recorded another 32 deaths, and First Minister Mark Drakeford said it is “still too early to change course”.
Northern Ireland saw its highest recorded daily death toll, with a further 18 people dying in hospitals.
Meanwhile, England has seen its own death toll rise by another 740 deaths.
A scientist advising the Government, Professor Neil Ferguson from Imperial College London said that a “significant level” of social distancing would be required until a vaccine was found.
One scientist advising the Government, Professor Neil Ferguson from Imperial College London, said that a “significant level” of social distancing would be needed until a vaccine was found.
Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme, Mr Ferguson said that easing the lockdown after another three weeks would require a “single-minded emphasis” in government on “scaling up” testing and contact tracing.
And he said the UK was unlikely to get back to normal when restrictions were relaxed.
Social distancing measures are expected to be required in one form or another until a vaccine is definitely rolled out.
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