Bad News for Brits Hoping to End Lockdown

Boris Johnson expected to announce another 3 weeks
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 10, 2020 7:11 AM CDT
Boris Johnson Set to Extend UK's Lockdown
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson joins in the applause on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street in London during the weekly "Clap for our Carers" Thursday, May 7, 2020. The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has prompted a public display of appreciation for care workers.   (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

Taking a different tack than most nations, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to extend the bulk of the country’s coronavirus lockdown restrictions for three weeks or so Sunday evening. Following a week of mixed messages that started with Johnson indicating that there will be changes to the lockdown beginning Monday, the AP reports that the government has sought to douse speculation that they will amount to much. That's because the UK, which has recorded the most coronavirus-related deaths in Europe at 31,662, is still seeing a relatively high number of infections. "Extreme caution is actually the watchword on this,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Saturday. His comments came as British police warned they are “fighting a losing battle” as Londoners headed out to parks, families descended on the pebble beaches of Brighton, and drivers set out on unessential journeys.

"It’s vital that we don’t throw away essentially the great work of seven weeks of people respecting very impressively the rules ... because it happens to be sunny outside this weekend," Shapps said. "That would be absolutely tragic.” The worry is that the UK lockdown, which began March 23 and has clearly reduced transmissions, will need to be extended for longer than envisioned. Johnson has voiced worries of a second spike—something health experts have said is absolutely going to happen as nations ease their lockdowns. There’s also widespread speculation that Johnson will announce a 14-day quarantine for all travelers coming to the UK except those from Ireland. Industry group Airlines UK said it had been told by the government that the plan will be in place by the end of the month or early June. “We will be asking for assurances that this decision has been led by the science and that government has a credible exit plan,” the organization said.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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