The government's emergency committee will meet today over the coronavirus lockdown as Britain braces for a long extension to the rules.

Boris Johnson's deputy will lead a COBRA summit with the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish governments ahead of an April 16 deadline to review restrictions across the UK.

There will be no formal review or decision on continuing the lockdown at this afternoon's meeting - because the evidence it's based on only arrives next week.

But Dominic Raab is expected to make clear tonight that there is no end in sight to the lockdown - as coronavirus has not even hit its peak in the UK.

Government sources warned it would be "very clear" that no existing data suggests anything other than the lockdown needs to continue for now.

Police at a vehicle checkpoint in York

And Wales' First Minister has already confirmed his country's lockdown will be extended, saying: "We will not throw away the gains we have made, and the lives we can save, by abandoning our efforts just as they begin to bear fruit."

Yesterday saw a rise of 938 deaths in hospitals of patients who tested positive for Covid-19, the highest new total so far.

And the Prime Minister still in intensive care for the fourth day.

Yet despite remaining fully in place the restrictions face their toughest test so far over the Easter weekend.

Temperatures are set to reach 25C (77F) in some parts of the country, which could tempt more people to break the stay at home rules.

Emergency powers kicked in on March 26 that ban people going outside without a good reason.

This can include shopping for essentials, doing essential work, a medical need or once a day for exercise.

The law also bans gatherings of more than two people in public, unless they're from the same household.

Police stand guard outside St Thomas' Hospital, where Boris Johnson remains

Offenders can be fined £30 to start with by police, rising to almost £1,000 by a third offence.

Boris Johnson originally said the powers would be reviewed after three weeks - which expire at the end of the Easter weekend.

But the government has repeatedly made clear it will last for longer - and health minister Edward Argar yesterday admitted "I don't know" when it will end.

The law does not say the lockdown can roll on indefinitely - it must be reviewed in some form.

It says a Cabinet minister "must review the need for restrictions and requirements" under the emergency law "at least once every 21 days, with the first review being carried out by 16th April 2020."

The law does not say the lockdown can roll on indefinitely - it must be reviewed in some form. But officials warn there is no end in sight to the rules

A review will be carried on on or just before that date, Downing Street said.

Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden said the law was absolutely clear - the restrictions remain in place and people must not break them over the Easter weekend.

"Now is not the time to be changing course," he said.

Mr Dowden said today's crunch summit will be the first step towards a formal legal review of the lockdown next week.

But he made clear there was no prospect of the lockdown being lifted.

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"The curve is beginning to flatten. This is the moment that we need to stick to the path we have chosen," he told Sky News.

Mr Dowden slammed reports of people going to second homes or "escapes" and police would take "necessary measures" to stop that happening.

He added: "Just at the moment where we feel we are beginning to make some progress with it, it's essential people stick with the guidance.

"It's premature to be talking about these changes."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak last night refused to put a time on when an exit strategy will start.

It is all but certain that schools will not be opening after the Easter break.

But heads and MPs have said that, while it would be unsafe to return in coming weeks, they would hope to be able to open fully before the end of the summer term in July.

As the number of UK deaths rose by 938 to 7,097, Mr Halfon – chair of the Education Select Committee – said: “Obviously I want schools to open as soon as possible because I’m really worried about what’s going to happen to left-behind kids.

"If they’re stuck at home they’re potentially going to suffer enormously.

“Education is the most important thing we can give to children and young people and it’s vital that schools open as soon as the science allows. It has to be a number one priority for the Government.”