The UK could “get going” with easing some lockdown measures from Monday, Boris Johnson has signalled.
The prime minister suggested a “phase two” plan for tackling coronavirus now infection numbers have peaked might come into force the day after he gives an update on the lockdown on Sunday.
“We’ll want if we possibly can to get going with some of these measures on Monday,” he told MPs at his first clash with new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in parliament on Wednesday.
“I think it would be a good thing if people had an idea of what’s coming the following day.” He did not spell out exactly how or which strict distancing measures will be tweaked.
The UK has been in lockdown for seven weeks with recorded deaths at more than 29,000 making it the highest figure in Europe.
Ministers and scientific advisers have stressed the country has passed the initial peak and that a new strategy of “test, track and trace” will be rolled out to stop further spikes overwhelming the NHS.
Mr Johnson has also set a new target of 200,000 tests a day by the end of May, he added that the statistic was “appalling” and that “every death is a tragedy” but warned: “At this stage I don’t think international comparisons and the data is yet there to draw all the conclusions that we want.”
Sir Keir hit back by claiming the argument “doesn’t hold water” since the government publishes the number of total deaths each day along with other international countries as part of its slides release at the Downing Street news conferences.