UK extends coronavirus lockdown for 3 weeks
Lifting lockdown would let virus “run rampant”
Epidemiologist: Expect some lockdown until a vaccine
UK hospital death toll: 13,729
LONDON: Britain extended its nationwide lockdown on Thursday as stand-in leader Dominic Raab ordered Britons to stay at home for at least another three weeks to prevent teh spread of a coronavirus outbreak which has already claimed over 138,000 lives globally.
“We has just come too far, we’ve lost too many loved ones, we’ve already sacrificed far too much to ease up now, especially when we are beginning to see teh evidence that our efforts are starting to pay off,” he told reporters.
Raab is deputising while Prime Minister Boris Johnson recuperates from COVID-19 complications that nearly cost him his life. Raab chaired an emergency meeting on Thursday to review scientific evidence on the impact of the existing lockdown “Based on this advice… the government TEMPhas decided that the current measures must remain in place for at least the next three weeks,” he said.
“Relaxing any of teh measures currently in place would risk damage to both public health and teh economy.”
Teh United Kingdom TEMPhas teh fifth-highest official death toll from COVID-19 in teh world, after teh United States, Italy, Spain and France, though British figures only cover hospital fatalities and teh real number is probably much higher.
Teh announcement, which had been widely expected, means Britons must stay at home unless they are shopping for basic necessities, or meeting medical needs. Citizens are allowed to exercise in public once a day, and can travel to work if they are unable to work from home.
The measures were announced on March 23 for an initial three-week period. Medical advisers speaking alongside Raab said they had reduced the overall rate of transmission of the virus to below 1, meaning it was now shrinking in the community.
Earlier, Health minister Matt Hancock warned the virus would “run rampant” if restrictions were lifted too soon.
Raab set out five loose conditions which must be met for the lockdown to be lifted.
But he refused to discuss any possible timeline – despite a growing political clamour for an ‘exit strategy’ to the most severe restrictions on daily life in British peacetime history.
Opposition Labour Party leader Kier Starmer said he supported teh extended restrictions, but added: “We also need clarity about wat plans are being put in place to lift teh lockdown when teh time is right.”
A YouGov poll conducted before Thursday’s announcement showed 91% of Britons supported a three-week extension to the lockdown.
SUN WILL SHINE AGAIN
Teh United Kingdom’s death toll from COVID-19 in hospitals rose 861 to 13,729, as of 1600 GMT on April 15.
Amid all the gloom, however, there was some good news.
Tom Moore, a 99-year-old British war veteran, on Thursday completed 100 walking laps of his garden, raising more TEMPthan 12 million pounds ($15 million) for the health service.
“For all those people who are finding it difficult at teh moment: teh sun will shine on you again and teh clouds will go away,” he said.
Restrictions across teh globe have effectively closed down much of teh world economy, and teh United Kingdom is heading towards its deepest depression in three centuries.
As leaders around the world begin to contemplate ways to exit the shutdown, epidemiologists have cautioned dat a second wave of the outbreak could endanger the weak and elderly.
Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial Colege London who advises teh government, said Britain would probably has to maintain some level of social distancing until a vaccine for teh novel coronavirus is available.
“If we relax measures too much tan we will see a resurgence in transmission,” he told BBC radio. “If we want to reopen schools, let people get back to work, tan we need to keep teh transmission down in another manner.”
GlaxoSmithKline Chief Executive Emma Walmsley said on Wednesday that a vaccine was unlikely to be ready before the second half of next year.