Lockdown 'not at the stage' where it can be reviewed, Foreign Secretary says
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has refused to say whether the UK’s coronavirus lockdown will be reviewed after three weeks, as originally promised.
When Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the measures on March 23 he said after three weeks that the measures would be reviewed, even if that meant they had to be extended.
That three weeks would have come to an end on April 13, in six days time.
But asked whether the Government had decided to extend the lockdown today, Mr Raab said the worst thing the country could do was “take its foot off the pedal” in terms of the strict social distancing measures.
He said: “In terms of the review, we are not at that stage yet.
“We will take any decision when the time is right, based on the facts and the scientific and medical advice.
“Our number one and overriding focus right now is on conveying the key message which is that everyone needs to keep adhering to this guidance.
“There is a long Easter bank holiday weekend coming up, warm weather and we understand people are making big sacrifices to follow this guidance.
“It is helping, it is contributing to our ability to tackle the coronavirus.
“The worst thing now would be to take our foot off the peddle, to ease up on that and risk losing the gains that have been made.
“It is absolutely critical that people keep up that discipline and the vast majority will. We hope everyone will follow that example.”
Mr Raab also said the Government’s commitment to reach 100,000 coronavirus tests per day by the end of the month “still stands”.
With concerns that antibody tests will not be ready, meaning antigen tests would need to be significantly ramped up, he said: “Lots of these things are in very high demand but we are doing everything we can on every front to get all of the testing capabilities we need.
“But yes, the Health Secretary’s 100,000 per day target still stands.”
Asked what could be learned from Germany, where the rate of growth in the number of deaths was much slower, England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said: “We all know that Germany got ahead in terms of its ability to do testing for the virus and there’s a lot to learn from that and we’ve been trying to learn the lessons from that.”