UK lockdown could be extended into May: Report

London, April 9 (IANS) Ministers were said to be preparing to extend the UK lockdown into May, with advisers insisting the coronavirus peak could still be 10 days away, a media report said on Thursday.

In Wednesday’s Downing Street briefing, Indian-origin 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 Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is currently deputising for the coronavirus-stricken Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said the Metro newspaper report.
Johnson was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital on Sunday, on the advice of his doctor, after continuing to have a cough and high temperature 10 days after testing positive for the virus.
The Prime Minister was given oxygen before being taken to intensive care on Monday. He was currently “responding to treatment” and remained clinically stable.
The government has reportedly been told that the country’s deadliest day could be April 18, meaning that Britons will be told to stay inside until at least next month, according to the newspaper.
The news comes after the UK death toll jumped by 938 people in just one day, taking the total number of fatalities to 7.097, while the number of confirmed coronavirus cases increased to 61,474.
In the press briefing on Wednesday, Sunak claimed that the government was 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.”
Also On Wednesday, the Downing Street said a review of lockdown rules would go ahead next week, but the public must “stick with” the measures at what was a “critical time”, the BBC reported.
A ban on public gatherings of more than two people and the closure of shops selling non-essential goods were among the series of restrictions announced by Johnson on March 23 to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
Downing Street said a relaxation of the rules would be considered “on or around” the three-week mark on April 13.
Speaking to the BBC, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I think we’re nowhere near lifting the lockdown.
“We think the peak – which is the worst part of the virus – is still probably a week and a half away.”