Cabinet to meet to review coronavirus lockdown measures as minister urges caution about reports

PUBLISHED: 09:42 07 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:09 07 May 2020

Prime minister Boris Johnson will meet with cabinet to discuss easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Photograph: Matt Dunham/PA.

Prime minister Boris Johnson will meet with cabinet to discuss easing coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Photograph: Matt Dunham/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

Boris Johnson is set to meet with his cabinet to discuss how to ease coronavirus lockdown measures ahead of an announcement on Sunday.

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The cabinet will focus on what restrictions can be relaxed now that the UK has passed its first Covid-19 peak.

Johnson will update the public with a statement on Sunday, with new measures coming into place on Monday.

Reports suggest changes may include unlimited exercise, the return of some sports, park picnics, and the opening of pub and cafe gardens as long as people remain two metres apart.

The government is also expected to revamp its messaging around the virus, calling for people to “stay safe” while insisting they wear face masks in public places,

MORE: Labour MP joins calls for Boris Johnson to make coronavirus lockdown statement in parliament.

But government ministers have been quick to downplay reports of restriction being eased, saying Downing Street is yet to make up its mind.

Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis told BBC Breakfast: “Although we believe we are through the peak of this virus we are very cautious to ensure that we don’t get a second peak.”

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Lewis urged people to take caution, underscoring that “the safest thing to do at the moment with this virus and the way it spreads is wherever you can stay home.”

“I would just say to people to not get too carried away with what we may be reading and just wait until the government guidelines and the prime minister’s statement,” he added.

One government insider told the Mirror there is an element of nervousness about the proposals. “It’s a bit of a shambles. Nobody can quite agree what to do and when to do it. Somebody comes up with a bright idea, but the practicalities get in the way. We’re not South Korea.”

The government has previously suggested the route out of lockdown would rely on increased capacity as part of a test, track and trace programme, to quickly identify new cases of coronavirus and prevent the further spread of the infection.

As part of this strategy,Johnson has promised to boost testing capacity to 200,000 per day by the end of May.

Latest figures from the Department of Health showed 30,076 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK, up 649 from Monday.

The total number of deaths involving Covid-19 that have been registered across the UK currently stands at 32,898.

New analysis from the Office for National Statistics is due to be published on Thursday, examining coronavirus-related deaths in England and Wales by occupation and ethnicity.

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