UK Environment Secretary George Eustice announced the update during the daily Downing Street briefing in London and revealed that hospitalisations from COVID-19 had continued to register a downward trajectory as it fell to 15,953.
The UK recorded its lowest daily death toll from the novel coronavirus in a month at 413 on Sunday, with its total number of hospital deaths climbing to 20,732. UK Environment Secretary George Eustice announced the update during the daily Downing Street briefing in London and revealed that hospitalisations from COVID-19 had continued to register a downward trajectory as it fell to 15,953.
The minister, however, warned that it was still too early to start discussing any let up in the strict lockdown measures in place. “It is still too early to ease any of those social distancing measures. It will be reviewed in a couple of weeks’ time and that would be the right moment to consider the scientific evidence that we have, particularly the medical evidence,” said Eustice, in reference to the May 7 deadline for a review of the lockdown. “It’s very important that we don’t risk a second peak. It’s very important that we see a downward trend and sustainable reduction in the number of infections. And that is our position,” he said.
Analysing the data, Professor Stephen Powis, the National Medical Director of NHS England, added that it was important that social distancing measures are adhered to despite a “very definite trend” in the reduced hospitalisation numbers from the deadly virus. “We need to ensure that this does not mean that we are not beginning to comply with the government social distancing measures,” he said.
The warning came as UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is standing in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson until he is back at work on Monday, said the country needs to move towards a “new normal” within the restrictions and that some level of social distancing would carry on even once schools, businesses and sporting events resume. “We are at a delicate and dangerous stage. We need to make sure that the next steps are sure-footed, which is why we are proceeding very cautiously and we are sticking to the scientific advice with the social-distancing measures at this time, whilst doing all the homework to make sure that we are prepared in due course for the next phase,” he said.