The UK’s coronavirus lockdown has been extended, the government has confirmed.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab, leading the government’s daily coronavirus press conference in Downing Street, said: “There is no change today in the guidance or in the rules.”
The government was legally obliged on Thursday to give notice of whether the lockdown would be continuing.
Raab did not clarify this in his opening remarks at the press conference. He only confirmed it when questioned by the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg.
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However, at 7pm on Sunday, Boris Johnson will give an address to the nation setting out the government’s exit strategy.
Raab said: “The prime minister will set out a roadmap that can look to the future and explain what steps will be taken at what time.”
Speaking at prime minister’s questions (PMQs) on Wednesday, Johnson had suggested the easing of the lockdown will begin on Monday.
“We want if we possibly can to get going with some of these measures on Monday,” he told MPs.
Amid confusion at the government’s stance, Johnson also warned on Thursday that the government will proceed with “maximum caution”.
The PM’s official spokesman said Johnson told his cabinet that nothing would be done which risked a second peak in the outbreak, while also warning he would not hesitate to tighten the rules again if required.
The spokesman said: “The PM said that in considering whether there could be any easement in the existing guidelines that we are not going to do anything that risks a second peak.
“We will advance with maximum caution in order to protect the NHS and save lives.
“We will be guided at every step by the science and the data and we will closely track the impact of any easing of the social distancing measures and will not hesitate to tighten the rules if required.”
Meanwhile, the latest figures from the Department of Health show 30,615 people have died after testing positive for COVID-19 – up by 539 from 30,076 on Wednesday.
The UK has the second highest coronavirus death toll in the world.