Following Boris Johnson’s initial claim, the UK’s lockdown will be reviewed next week. However, in a sign the UK could see an extended lockdown period, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the best way to stop the spread of the virus was to stay at home after the UK’s (938) daily death toll surpassed Italy’s. He said: “The priority is to stop the spread of the virus – and the best way to do that is to stay at home.” Another Government source also concluded also said there was no chance the lockdown measures will be relaxed next week. It is now likely the measures will stay in place until next month. This comes as Boris Johnson spent a third night in intensive care.
The Prime Minister was transferred to intensive care on Monday night after experiencing breathing difficulties.
However, Mr Johnson is now improving and recovering in St Thomas’ Hospital.
During the No 10 press briefing on Wednesday, Mr Sunak announced an approximate £750million of additional funding for charities across the country.
An initial £360million will be allocated to charities providing key services.
Another £370million will be available for small to medium charities who provide services such as delivering food.
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Coronavirus LIVE: UK lockdown to be extended
9.34am update: Russia reports COVID-19 rise
Russia has reported a rise of 1,459 new cases on Thursday.
The national total of cases now stands 10,131.
9.15am update: Government overdraft expected
The Government has confirmed it has expanded its overdraft with the Bank of England to ensure it has significant money during the coronavirus outbreak.
In a statement, the Bank of England said: “As a temporary measure, this will provide a short-term source of additional liquidity to the Government if needed to smooth its cash flows and support the orderly functioning of markets, through the period of disruption from COVID-19.
“The Government will continue to use the markets as its primary source of financing, and its response to COVID-19 will be fully funded by additional borrowing through normal debt management operations.”
9.02am update: Japan cases rise
Japan has confirmed 500 cases in one day for the first time.
The Health Ministry confirmed on Thursday that the country had more than 500 new cases in one day bringing the national total to 4,768.
7.55am update: Italy lockdown measures could be eased
Italy could ease lockdown measures towards the end of the month, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte admitted.
Although he admitted the process would need to be gradual, he admitted it was definitely a possibility.
Italy has started to control the number of cases and deaths in the country after hitting a hight of 971 deaths on March 28.
7.43am update: Now the time to relax social distancing measures
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden warned it is not time to relax lockdown measures in the country.
Speaking to Sky News today, he said the UK was only just seeing the benefits of the measures and therefore, may need to remain for an extended period.
He said: “We are beginning to make progress on this, we’ve not seen the acceleration you would have expected had we not introduced this, the curve is beginning to flatten.
“This is the moment that we need to stick to the path we’ve chosen.
“The British people have really come behind this, we shouldn’t be giving up this Easter weekend, that is the number one thing.”
7.30am update: UK lockdown to be extended
Following Rishi Sunak’s admission on Wednesday, ministers will discuss plans to extend the lockdown today.
A COBRA meeting will be held today where an extension leading into May will be discussed, according to The Times.
Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon will attend the meeting along with London Mayor, Sadiq Khan who claimed the UK was nowhere near the end of the lockdown.
A ‘Stay at Home This Easter’ campaign will also be launched as political leaders will urge members of the public to respect social distancing measures this weekend.