UK Lockdown to Continue for at Least Another Three Weeks

Globally, more than 2.09 million people have been infected by coronavirus, with the death toll nearing 140,000, according to data compiled by the U.S.' Johns Hopkins University.

The UK will extend its coronavirus lockdown measures for at least a further three weeks, First Secretary of State Dominic Raab has confirmed.

The restrictions, which have totally changed day-to-day life since being implemented last month, will stay in place as hundreds of COVID-19 deaths continue to be reported daily.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab made the announcement during Thursday's briefing.

He added that that too much had been "sacrificed. especially when we are beginning to see that our efforts are starting to pay off".

Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London who advises the government, said Britain would probably have to maintain some level of social distancing until a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is available.

"That would risk a quick return to another lockdown with all the threat to life that a second peak to the virus would bring and all the economic damage that a second lockdown would carry".

"But our message to the public is: there is light at the end of tunnel, we are making progress, but at the same time we must keep up the social distancing measures".

Johnson ordered the initial three-week lockdown on March 23, shutting "non-essential" shops and services, banning gatherings of more than two people and giving police powers to fine those flouting the rules.

The latest United Kingdom figures show 103,093 people have tested positive for coronavirus and 13,729 have died in hospital, up 861 on the day before.

"So, the current restrictions will remain in place".

Raab set out five loose conditions which must be met for the lockdown to be lifted.

"We are now at both a delicate and unsafe stage in this pandemic".

Second, we need to see a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates from coronavirus so we are confident that we have moved beyond the peak.

On the question of relaxing lockdown, Raab asserted: "We will only do it when the evidence demonstrates that it is safe to do it, adding,"it could involve relaxing measures in some areas while strengthening measures in other areas, but. we will be at all times guided by the scientific advice and the evidence".

Labour has called on the government to release an exit strategy, though leader Keir Starmer has said the party backed an extension of the lockdown.

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