Coronavirus UK: Why has lockdown been extended and what are the restrictions?

The UK’s lockdown measures against coronavirus has been extended for at least three more weeks.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab – who is also deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson – announced the news in the daily Downing Street presser.

He said the decision had been made as the UK’s infection rate was not as low as it needed to be, thus threatening a second peak of Covid-19 and a substantial increase in deaths.

He added: ‘Any change to our social distancing measures now would risk a significant increase in the spread of the virus.’

Read the latest updates: Coronavirus news live 

It comes as the Department of Health said that, as of 9am on Thursday, 327,608 people have been tested for coronavirus of which 103,093 tested positive.

Of these deaths, 740 occured in England between 13 April and 15 April, NHS England said.

Overall, 417,649 tests have been done, with 18,665 tests alone carried out on Wednesday, excluding data from Northern Ireland.

The government has laid out five criteria which need to be met before they can consider easing restrictions.

They are as follows:

  • NHS must be able to cope and provide sufficient care
  • Evidence showing a sustained and consistent fall in daily death rates
  • Reliable data showing the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels.
  • Confidence enough tests and PPE are at hand to use
  • Confidence any adjustments won’t trigger a second peak

What are the lockdown restrictions?

The country was first placed into lockdown on 23 March, and is due for further review in three weeks’ time.

The government has instructed people should remain at home and only leave the house for very limited purposes.

These include:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent 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, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home

People are allowed to visit parks for outdoor exercise but only alone or with household members.

Unless you are with those in your household, gatherings of more than two people in parks and other public spaces have been banned. 

If an individual is found to have left their home or gather in public for any reason other than those specified, the police can take action in a number of ways.

This includes:

  • instructing you to go home, leave an area or disperse
  • instructing you to take steps to stop your children breaking these rules if they have already done so
  • taking you home – or arresting you – if you do not follow their instructions or where they deem it necessary
  • issuing a fine of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days.
  • issuing a fine of £120 for second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence

Coronavirus latest news and updates

  • Visit our live blog for the latest updates: Coronavirus news live
  • Read all new and breaking stories on our Covid-19 news page
  • Coronavirus symptoms explained
  • Find out the latest on which shops can stay open in a lockdown
  • Who needs to go to work, who needs to stay at home and who is classed as a key worker?

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