Prime Minister Boris Johnson has had a turbulent few weeks, battling coronavirus, then returning to work all before his fiancee Carrie Symonds gave birth to their first child Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson. Now Mr Johnson has yet more on his plate, as a strategy for the UK emerging from an extended lockdown is expected to be announced soon.
When is Boris Johnson reviewing lockdown?
Mr Johnson is expected to reveal the full details of how the UK will exit the lockdown this coming Sunday, May 10.
This is three days after the Government is due to review the restrictions currently in place.
However, Mr Johnson is not expected to immediately relax lockdown measures.
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Potentially another three weeks of lockdown – with some small changes – are on the cards after the Government’s review.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab extended lockdown on April 17 for three weeks, putting the Government’s review on Thursday, May 7.
The UK has been in lockdown since March 23, with restrictions on travelling, leaving home and who can work.
In order to lift restrictions the UK must pass five tests, and only if these are met will the Government consider easing the lockdown rules.
Then, the Government will have a further plan for how the UK will adjust to a “new normal”.
What are the five tests to end lockdown?
1. NHS has adequate capacity
First, the Government must ensure the NHS has the capacity to treat seriously ill COVID-19 patients if needed.
To measure this, the number of available beds in intensive care will be the figure used.
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2. A consistent and sustained fall in daily deaths
The number of deaths from COVID-19 in the UK needs to fall over an extended period of time to indicate the worst of the peak is over.
Data from Public Health England suggests the number of overall daily deaths is slowly decreasing.
3. The R rate falls below one
The R rate, or the infection rate, must fall below one before the Government will consider lifting lockdown measures.
The R rate is the number of people each person who catches COVID-19 infects.
If the number drops below one, this indicates those infected are spreading the virus to less than one other person – meaning the virus is slowly dying out.
4. PPE capacity and testing meets demand
One of the biggest criticisms during the coronavirus outbreak has been the lack of PPE – Personal Protection Equipment – available to frontline workers.
More than one billion items of PPE have been distributed but there are still major concerns about shortages.
In terms of tests, the Government has now met a target to hit at least 100,000 daily tests.
5. A second wave will not happen after lockdown
The final test is ensuring a second wave of COVID-19 infections will not happen if lockdown is eased.
If this does happen, the NHS could become overwhelmed and strict lockdown measures could be reinstated.
In order to meet the test, the Government will need to lift the lockdown restrictions very slowly and measure the response in all the above tests.
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