'We're not done yet': Coronavirus lockdown must be extended, government confirms

James Morris
Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
Dominic Raab confirmed the UK's coronavirus lockdown would be extended at Thursday's Downing Street press conference. (PA)

The government has confirmed it is extending its coronavirus lockdown.

Dominic Raab said on Thursday: “We’re not done yet. We must keep going.

“The measures will have to stay in place until we have got the evidence that clearly shows we have moved beyond the peak [of the outbreak].”

Raab, who is standing in for Boris Johnson while the prime minister remains in intensive care with coronavirus symptoms, made the announcement as the UK’s COVID-19 death toll rose to 7,978, an increase of 881 from Wednesday.

Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice

Live: Follow all the latest updates from the UK and around the world

Fact-checker: The number of COVID-19 cases in your local area

6 charts and maps that explain how COVID-19 is spreading

The government’s draconian social distancing measures have now been in place for two-and-a-half weeks.

Speaking at Thursday’s coronavirus press conference, Raab went on: “I know these restrictions take their toll – day in, day out – on people’s livelihoods, quality of life, mental health.”

He said how he would usually be “doing an Easter egg hunt” with his two sons over the Easter weekend.

Urging people to stay indoors during the upcoming four-day bank holiday, he went on: “Unfortunately now, we can’t just do those sorts of things. I’m really sorry about that.”

Read more: Nearly two-thirds of Brits support parties forming national unity government to tackle crisis

Raab said: “We are starting to see the impact of the sacrifices we have all made but the deaths are still rising and we haven’t yet reached the peak of the virus – so it’s still too early to list the measures that we’ve put in place.”

“We must stick to the plan,” he added.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said at the same briefing: “The measures that everybody has taken, the difficult things that we’ve all had to do, are making a difference, they’re making a big difference.

“We know that the social distancing is working and we know that people are doing what they’re supposed to do and we need to keep doing that.”

Boris Johnson is being treated at St Thomas' Hospital in London (Empics)

Prime minister Johnson spent a fourth day in intensive care at St Thomas’s Hospital in Westminster on Thursday, though Raab said he is continuing to make “positive steps forward and is in good spirits”.

Earlier on Thursday, Johnson’s official spokesman assured the lockdown measures will not be toughened, though individual police forces will be given “discretion” to enforce them.

Coronavirus: what happened today

Click here to sign up to the latest news, advice and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter

The difference between coronavirus and hay fever symptoms