It's the question currently on everyone's lips - when can the UK lockdown be lifted and daily life return to normal?
On 16 April, the UK government announced that they would be extending the nationwide lockdown for at least three weeks, making 7 May the earliest that restrictions might be relaxed.
When will lockdown be lifted?
With Prime Minister Boris Johnson currently recovering from coronavirus, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab made the announcement that the lockdown would be extended, adding that it could only be lifted when five specific criteria had been met:
- When reliable data from SAGE shows that infection rate has decreased to manageable levels- When there is enough testing capacity and PPE available to meet future demand- When there is confidence that the NHS can still provide sufficient specialist treatment and critical care across the UK- When there is not a risk of a second peak of infection that overwhelms the NHS- When there has been a consistent and sustained fall in the daily death rate, allowing confidence that we are beyond the peak of the virus
Why are other countries relaxing their lockdowns?
While there is some light at the end of the tunnel, Mr Raab warned that lifting lockdown too soon would "risk damage to both public health and the economy", undoing all the progress made so far.
With the UK a few weeks behind other European countries like Italy and Spain, we are yet to see any relaxation of restrictions.
Some European countries have now begun to partially lift lockdown. Spain, for example, is now allowing manufacturing, construction and other non-essential activity to take place, while Denmark has - somewhat controversially - allowed some schools to resume classes.
Britain's lockdown has seen rates of infection drop significantly. However, Mr Raab warned in the press conference that there are still "issues with the virus spreading in some hospitals and care homes".