Ministers are said to be preparing to extend the UK lockdown into May, with advisers insisting the coronavirus peak could still be ten days away.
In Wednesday’s Downing Street briefing, Chancellor Rishi Sunak refused to give any hints on if the restrictions would be eased, adding there would be a Cobra meeting to review the situation on Thursday, chaired by Dominic Raab.
However, the government has reportedly been told the country’s deadliest day could be April 18, meaning that Britons will be told to stay inside until at least next month.
It comes after the UK death toll jumped by 938 people in just one day – a bigger increase than on Italy’s worst day of the outbreak.
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A senior government source told The Sun: ‘Nobody is going to argue about extending the lockdown into May.
‘Look at where the peak is now expected. It’s becoming obvious that’s where we’re heading.
‘It would be seriously negligent not to do that.’
People living in Britain under the new restrictions face their toughest challenge yet this weekend, with temperatures predicted to reach 25C in some areas.
The Times reports that political leaders are set to unite to launch a ‘stay at home this Easter’ campaign, as they fear that thousands will again ignore the rules to enjoy the sunny weather.
At the press conference yesterday, the Chancellor sidestepped questions about the prospect of different parts of the UK emerging from the lockdown at different times.
He claimed the government is currently focusing on the ‘here, the now and the present’ rather than when the restrictions will end.
When pressed on the issue by journalists, he responded: ‘What really matters is that people stay at home’.
When questioned on the same issue, deputy chief scientific adviser Professor Dame Angela McLean said she suspected ‘simple strategies might well turn out to be the best to use’.
Wales’s first minister confirmed yesterday that the lockdown there would be extended into next week.
Mark Drakeford said Wales must ‘not throw away gains’ made against coronavirus ‘by abandoning our efforts just as they begin to bear fruit’.
He added that he expects other parts of the UK to follow suit.
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