Government Extends UK COVID-19 Lockdown

In response to the continued spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced that the UK will remain in ‘lockdown’ for at least another three weeks during a press conference on Thursday, 16th April 2020. This announcement came as the UK surpassed 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 13,000 deaths.

Raab, who is deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson while he recovers from COVID-19, said that the extended lockdown period is necessary because the number of COVID-19 cases in the UK has not yet peaked. The Foreign Secretary said that relaxing lockdown measures now would carry significant public health and economic risks.

Have a look at this guidance for an overview of what the lockdown extension means and what requirements must be met for the government to lift lockdown measures.

What the Lockdown Extension Means

Since the initial lockdown began on 23rd March 2020, the government has been enforcing the following lockdown standards:

  • Citizens are only permitted to leave their homes for basic necessities (eg food and medicine), one form of exercise a day, medical reasons (eg to provide care) or travelling to and from work—but only if the work cannot be completed from home.
  • All non-essential public shops and spaces are closed. This includes pubs, cinemas, theatres, non-essential retail stores, libraries, community centres, leisure facilities, places of worship, hostels, hotels, bed and breakfasts, caravan parks and boarding houses.

Public gatherings are prohibited. The only exceptions to this rule are when a gathering consists of people who live together or when the gathering is essential for work purposes.

During this lockdown extension, the same standards will apply.

What Is Necessary to Lift Lockdown Measures

In order for the government to lift the existing lockdown measures, the following five requirements must be met:

  1. The NHS must be able to cope with the number of COVID-19 patients and provide sufficient critical care across the UK.
  2. There must be a consistent fall in daily death rates to ensure the UK is beyond the peak.
  3. The rate of infection must decrease to manageable levels.
  4. There must be an adequate supply of COVID-19 tests and personal protective equipment to meet future demand.
  5. The government must be confident that lifting lockdown measures would not cause a second peak in infections or overwhelm the NHS.

Looking Ahead

The lockdown will last for at least three more weeks and likely extend until the aforementioned requirements are met. In terms of the impact this lockdown could have on Brexit, the government currently has no plans to extend the transition period—which means that UK and EU citizens will still be expected to comply with regulatory changes starting 1st January 2021.

We hope you all are safe and stay home!