Dominic Raab says UK faces further lockdowns if there is any 'uptick' of coronavirus

31 May 2020, 14:05

Mr Raab said the Government will target measures "carefully" if there is "any uptick"
Mr Raab said the Government will target measures "carefully" if there is "any uptick". Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

The UK could face further quarantines if there is any rise in coronavirus infections, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

Mr Raab said the Government will target measures "carefully" if there is "any uptick" in infection rates, which could mean shutting down specific regions of the country.

It comes as coronavirus restrictions, which have been in place since March, are due to be relaxed tomorrow. Groups of up to six people will be allowed to meet up again and also in private gardens.

Asked whether the lockdown will be tightened again if infection rates increase, Mr Raab told Sky's Ridge on Sunday: "We will target, if there is any uptick, and it could be in a locality, it could be in a particular setting, we will target very carefully measures that would apply to it so that we can take these steps but also keep control of the virus."

The proposed relaxation of the rules has slightly improved the UK's economic outlook as it has shown tentative signs of improvement with people beginning to return to work.

The UK has been in lockdown since 23 March, but some measures are being lifted
The UK has been in lockdown since 23 March, but some measures are being lifted. Picture: PA

But the overall projection of the economy is at depressed levels and there is speculation as to whether Chancellor Rishi Sunak will scrap the Bank of England inflation target to make economic growth a primary target to help with recovery from the pandemic.

Mr Raab said: "This is a sensitive moment. We can't just stay in lockdown forever. We have got to transition."

Referring to the level of the coronavirus threat and the "R" infection rate, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told added: "We are transitioning from level four to level three.

"We have made steady progress to get the R level down below one."

Referring to a Government adviser, Mr Raab said: "As Jonathan Van-Tam has said, with a precarious moment we can ease up, we can protect life, but also livelihoods, get life back to something resembling normal, but we must monitor it very carefully.

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"If there is any up-tick in the number of cases, if we stop making the progress I described, we will have to take further measures again and target the virus wherever it may appear."

The UK still continues to report Covid-related deaths as the total figure is beginning to reach 40,000.

Mr Raab and the Government insists that their five tests for easing lockdown have been met. But some scientific advisers to the government from Sage claim the UK is easing lockdown too soon.

However, the virus appears to be on a downward trend worldwide and critics of the shutdown such as Lord Sumption has called for the Government to ease restrictions more rapidly.

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