Lockdown extended for another three weeks with only ‘slow, small’ lifting of restrictions

Mr Raab reiterated that any changes to the lockdown measures would be limited, saying: “If we find in the future the ‘R’ level goes back up or that people aren’t following the rules, we must have the ability then to put back measures in place.

“For the moment it is really important, particularly as people look towards a warm Bank Holiday weekend, that we continue to follow the guidance in place at this time.”

‘Safety first’

Speaking near his London home, the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, urged people to stick to the rules over the Bank Holiday weekend.

He said: “What I think is really important is that we continue the lockdown, we’re very clear that we all must follow that guidance. Until it changes, we must follow it and it’s very clear that that’s important for this weekend.

“The health and safety of the nation has to come first, and therefore we cannot lift these restrictions until we’re clear that the infection is under control.”

Earlier on Thirsday, Nicola Sturgeon announced the extension of Scotland’s lockdown, with the First Minister warning it would be “very risky” to make changes too quickly.

Ms Sturgeon said she was due to speak to Mr Johnson later on Thursday and insisted that she “will not be pressured into lifting restrictions prematurely, until I am as certain as I can be that we will not be risking a resurgence in infection rates”.

She said her preference was for the four nations of the UK to move together, but that any decisions “must be taken with great care” and that she would “continue to err on the side of caution”. It comes amid warnings of the impact that different lockdown restrictions could have on a second wave in cases outlined in the chart below:

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