Current restrictions on movement of people within the UK to try and contain the spread of the coronavirus will remain in force for at least a further three weeks, the government has confirmed.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said in this evening's update on the pandemic from Number 10 Downing Street that it would be "dangerous" both for public health and the economy to relax any of the current restrictions.
The existing ability to leave the home to undertake one form of exercise each day, including cycling, remains.
Raab said: "The advice from Sage [the scientific advisory group for emergencies] is that relaxing any of the measures currently in place would risk damage to both public health and our economy."
He continued: "There are indications that the measures we have put in place have been successful in slowing down the spread of the virus.
"But, Sage also say that it is a mixed and inconsistent picture and, in some settings, infections are still likely to be increasing.
"Sage assess that the rate of infection, or the R value, is almost certainly below 1 in the community.
"That means that on average each infected person is, in turn, infecting less than one other person
"But, overall, we still don’t have the infection rate down as far as we need to.
"As in other countries, we have issues with the virus spreading in some hospitals and care homes.
"In sum, the very clear advice we have received is that any change to our social distancing measures now would risk a significant increase in the spread of the virus.
"That would threaten a second peak of the virus, and substantially increase the number of deaths.
"It would undo the progress made to date, and as a result, would require an even longer period of the more restrictive social distancing measures."
There is no indication as yet of when the restrictions might be lifted, but as the legilsation stands, the next opportunity for review will be three weeks from today, on 7 May.
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