Social distancing measures and current curbs on public life must continue to stay in place as the country continues its fight to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The measures were initially due to be reviewed around April 13 – three weeks since they came into effect on March 23- but although this may still happen Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said at the public briefing today (April 9) that “we’re not done yet.”
Mr Raab thanked key workers and the public for the sacrifices made but said it was too early to lift emergency measiures.
He said: “The Government is continuing to gather all of the relevant data to obtain the fullest picture possible of the effect of the social distancing measures we have put in place.
“Now, while the early signs suggest that they are having the impact we need to see, it’s too early to say that conclusively.
“SAGE will meet next week to discuss the latest evidence, and we will keep the measures we have put in place under review. And as we’ve said on many occasions now, we will be guided by the science at all times. So we don’t expect to be able to say more on this until the end of next week.
“The measures will have to stay in place, until we’ve got the evidence that clearly shows we have moved beyond the peak.
“I know these restrictions take their toll, day in day out. On people’s livelihoods, on people’s quality of life, on people’s mental health. And I appreciate that it’s often the little things that hurt the most.
“With the Easter Bank Holiday coming up, I would normally spend it with my two boys, 7 and 5 year old boys, with their grandparents doing an Easter egg hunt. And I know there is going to be lots of people who would normally be planning a family get together or just getting out in the sunshine with friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, right now, we just can’t do those sorts of things. And I am really sorry about that.
“But take a moment to think of the progress we’ve already made, Following the guidance, staying home, denying this virus what it needs, to spread more easily and to kill more people.
“It’s been almost three weeks, and we’re starting to see the impact of the sacrifices we’ve 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 lift the measures that we’ve put in place. We must stick to the plan. And we must continue to be guided by the science.
Our top priority, our immediate priority, remains to slow the spread of the virus and to save as many lives as possible. That’s why we have to ask you to continue to ask you all to keep complying with the guidance.”
It was revealed at the briefing that new coronavirus cases are beginning to level off, suggesting that social isolation measures are working, although it could be up to two weeks before this can be shown conclusively.
The four reasons to leave your home:
- shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
- one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
- any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
- travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.