Today’s Daily Briefing heard the announcement from acting Prime Minister Dominic Raab that the UK’s coronavirus lockdown will continue for at least another three weeks. This means that the police-enforced lockdown will continue until early May, when measures will again be reviewed. The restrictions prohibit people from leaving their homes, apart from for a very limited number of essential activities. These are: shopping for food and other necessities; for one daily form of exercise; for medical issues, including providing care to others; and to travel to and from work “where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home”.
The original lockdown was introduced three weeks ago on 23 March. Ministers are required by law to assess whether the rules are working, based on expert advice, every three weeks.
The strict measures that the government has introduced, such as requiring people to stay at home, the temporary closure of many businesses, and the prevention of social gatherings, have been imposed to try and limit the spread of Covid-19.
This announcement comes after Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, told a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday that he believed the UK was probably reaching its peak; although the country was not yet safely past it. He also warned that a high number of deaths related to Covid-19 could be expected for a number of days.
As of Thursday afternoon, virus cases surpassed two million, with over 131,000 reported deaths worldwide; though these numbers likely undercount the true scale of the pandemic. In the UK, as of Thursday, there are over 100,000 confirmed cases of the virus, and the number of deaths in UK hospitals of people who tested positive for coronavirus now stands at 13,729, a daily increase of 861.