Dominic Raab has confirmed the UK will continue to be on lockdown for a further three weeks during the coronavirus pandemic. The Foreign Secretary said the lockdown has been successful in slowing the spread of infection. It comes as a total of 13,729 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Wednesday, the Department of Health said, up by 861 from 12,868 the day before.
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Speaking at Downing Street, 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.
“There are indications that the measures we have put in place have been successful in slowing down the spread of this virus. But Sage also say that is a mixed and inconsistent picture and, in some settings, infections are still likely to be increasing.”
The rate of infection – the R0 value – was “almost certainly below one in the community”, meaning infected people were passing the disease on to fewer than one other person on average.
“But overall we still don’t have the infection rate down as far as we need to.”
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Dominic Raab has confirmed the UK will continue the lockdown
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Mr Raab, the acting prime minister in Boris Johnson’s absence, said there were still “issues with the virus spreading in some hospitals and in care homes”.
He added: “The very clear advice we received is that any change to our social distancing measures now would risk a significant increase in the spread of the virus.
“That would threaten a second peak of the virus and substantially increase the number of deaths.
“It would undo the progress we have made to date and as a result would require an even longer period of the more restrictive social distancing measures.”
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The advice was that relaxing any of the measures would risk damage to public health and the economy, he said.
“Based on this advice, which we have very carefully considered, the Government has decided that the current measures must remain in place for at least the next three weeks.”
The announcement comes as a YouGov snap poll found 91 percent of Britons fully support an extension to the coronavirus lockdown with only five percent opposing it.
The poll of 3,430 British adults on April 16 found 67 percent strongly agree the lockdown should continue for three weeks.
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Additionally, results released on Tuesday showed that the public are confident in the scientific advice that the Government is receiving but are split on whether the healthy people should be advised to wear masks.
Mr Raab said the public needed to show “patience” and stick with the restrictions to stop the spread of the virus.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel but we are now at both a delicate and a dangerous stage in this pandemic,” he said.
“If we rush to relax the measures that we have in place we would risk wasting all the sacrifices and all the progress that has been made.”