April 17, 2020

Why we’re extending the Coronavirus lockdown

The coronavirus outbreak is the biggest threat this country has seen for decades. And this country is not alone. All over the world, we are seeing the terrible effect of this invisible killer.

In dealing with this unprecedented challenge, this Government has announced that the social distancing measures currently in place to tackle the coronavirus will continue for at least the next three weeks. In order to keep people safe, protect the NHS, and save lives.

We recognise that this means the disruptions to people’s lives, jobs, and businesses will continue. But our priority has always been to save lives in this time of national emergency.

Our advice is clear: people should continue to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.

Why we’re extending the coronavirus lockdown

While there are indications that social distancing measures have been successful in slowing down the spread of the virus, it is a mixed and inconsistent picture. In some settings, infections may still increase.

At every stage in this process, we are being guided by the best scientific and medical advice. The Government received advice from SAGE, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, on whether continuing social distancing measures were appropriate.

Relaxing any of the measures currently in place would risk damage to both public health and our economy. The worst thing we could do now is ease up too soon and allow a second peak of the virus to hit the NHS and hit the British people.

When we will adjust current restrictions

We have set out five specific things which the Government will need to be satisfied of before we will consider it safe to adjust any of the current measures:

  1. We must protect the NHS’s ability to cope – we must be confident that we are able to provide sufficient critical care and specialist treatment right across the UK.
  2. We need to see a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates from coronavirus so we are confident that we have moved beyond the peak.
  3. We need to have reliable data from SAGE showing that the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels across the board.
  4. We need to be confident that the range of operational challenges, including testing capacity and PPE, are in hand, with supply able to meet future demand.
  5. We need to be confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections that overwhelm the NHS.

Only when we are confident on these five points, guided by science and data, we will look to adjust the measures. In other words, when the evidence demonstrates it is safe, we will look into adjusting the current measures in place.

We will make those decisions at the right time for this country. But for now, the most important thing people can do is to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.

Why this matters

The more people that get sick with the virus at any one time, the harder it will be for the NHS to cope. That would mean more people would be likely to die from coronavirus and other serious illnesses.

Therefore, if we can slow the spread of Coronavirus so fewer people are sick at any one time, we can protect the NHS’s ability to cope. By protecting the NHS, we can save lives.

At this time of national emergency, it is important that we take the right measures at the right time, as the evidence tells us what is required. The Government is working around the clock to increase capacity, make sure equipment is available to those who need it, and to test more and more people every day.

We are asking people, unless they have one of the specific reasons set out, to continue to follow the advice. Stay at home – so we can protect the NHS and save lives.

Region Labour's Pension Tax (£) Extra Months to Work
England 11,167 44
East Midlands 6,150 50
Greater London 12,871 45
North East 9,758 38
North West 6,835 47
South East 14,270 40
South West 7,407 45
West Midlands 10,729 41
Northern Ireland 13,718 35
Scotland 10,653 41
Wales 11,691 36
United Kingdom 11,253 43

Commenting, Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, said:

“Corbyn’s Pension Tax will see ten million savers facing a huge bill forcing them to delay their retirement for almost three and a half years.
“This is just one of the ways a Corbyn government would hammer hardworking people on top of his plans to hike up taxes by £2,400 a year, as well as the cost of his plan for unlimited immigration and the chaos of 2020 being dominated by two more referendums – one on Brexit and another on Scottish independence.
“Only Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party can get Brexit done with a deal, get parliament working again and turbocharge our economy to unleash Britain’s potential.”

Read more about how this Pension Tax will impact millions of savers (PDF)