No lockdown rules ready to be lifted, warns Nicola Sturgeon as Boris prepares to brace UK for more weeks of shutdown

NONE of the lockdown rules are ready to be lifted, Nicola Sturgeon has warned as Boris Johnson prepares to back more weeks of shutdown.

The Prime Minister is hosting cabinet this morning one day after the birth of his son, where his team will discuss how to manage the lockdown.

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He is then expected to rule out any relaxing of the measures and urge Brits to stick with it when he returns to the Downing Street press conferences later today.

Speaking last night, the SNP leader suggested no changes were incoming.

She said: "People talk about lifting the lockdown, that is not going to be a flick of the switch moment – we're going to have to be very careful, very slow, very gradual.

"I'm far from convinced at this stage that when we get to the next review point on the 7th of May we'll be in a position to lift any of these measures right now, because the margins of manoeuvre that we're operating in right now are very, very, very tight and narrow."

On eight separate days this month more than 1,000 people died of the virus.

Mr Johnson will use today's conference to warn that while infection rates are falling well, the government’s top scientists have warned him that easing up on the restrictions now is still very high risk.

A senior No10 source said: “He’ll talk about the progress we’ve made so far in slowing the spread of the virus, and how we won’t do anything that might risk a return to exponential growth”.

Mr Johnson’s first public grilling since his return to No10 has been designed to set the scene ahead of the lockdown’s next three week review point on May 7.

Allies say Boris is desperate to dampen down expectations among some Tory MPs and party donors for major changes, instead opting for a “caution first” approach – especially while the lockdown is still widely supported by the public.

While more Brits are urged to return to work if it is safe, and households could be given the opportunity to socialise with one other household group, it is now expected that much of the nation’s virtual house arrest will remain in place in May.

Speaking on Monday,the PM warned Brits against "lockdown impatience" as the country is at the stage of "maximum risk".

In a rallying cry from outside No.10, the PM warned the nation he would "refuse" to risk a second wave of coronavirus cases by lifting restrictions too soon, as he came back to work for the first time since his own battle with the virus.

He said: "Now is not the time to go easy on those social distancing measures.

"I ask you to contain your impatience because I believe we are coming now to the end of the first phase of this conflict."

The PM said he would lay out plans to move to the next phase of the lockdown in the "coming days", but warned Brits not to expect an exact date.

"We simply cannot spell out now how fast or slow or even when those changes will be made," he stressed.

He suggested that things could move very slowly, saying measures may be changed "one by one to fire up the engines of this vast UK economy".

Yesterday Dominic Raab warned UK hopes of lifting any lockdown measures could be hit by a possible second wave of cases in Germany.
The country has seen its coronavirus transmission rate soar upwards after it relaxed some of its strict lockdown measures last week.

He said: "This issue of a second spike and the need to avoid it – it’s not a theoretical risk, and it is not confined to the UK.

"Having relaxed restrictions in Germany over the past week, they have seen a rise in the transmission rate of coronavirus.

"And Chancellor Merkel has said publically, and she has made it clear, that they might need a second lockdown in Germany if the infection rate continues to rise."



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