The government has made the decision to extend the lockdown restrictions for at least another 3 weeks, foreign secretary Dominic Raab confirmed in last night’s daily coronavirus briefing.
Raab, who is deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson while he recovers from the coronavirus, said the decision was made following advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
He said SAGE advised that “relaxing any of the measures in place” would “undo the progress we have made” and would “risk damage to both public health and the economy.”
He said: “The worst thing that we could do now is ease up too soon – and allow a second peak of the virus to hit the NHS and to hit the British people.”
Raab set out five points which he said the government must be satisfied of before considering lockdown changes:
- Confidence that the NHS can still provide sufficient critical care and specialist treatment across the UK.
- Need to see a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rate to be confident we are beyond the peak.
- Reliable data from SAGE that the infection rate has decreased to manageable levels.
- Testing capacity and PPE is in hand to meet supply for future demand.
- Not risk a second peak of infection that overwhelms the NHS.
The news will come as no surprise to the UK catering equipment supply chain, which has all but shut down in line with the rest of the hospitality industry.
However, dealers and manufacturers will be keeping a close eye on any indications from the government of when foodservice sites might be able to start opening again.