Boris Johnson has promised to deliver a “comprehensive plan” next week to set out “how we can get our economy moving”, how people might travel to work and how children can go back to school or into childcare.
At his first Downing Street press conference since recovering from Covid-19, the Prime Minister announced he is setting out a “road map” for easing UK lockdown restrictions.
Mr Johnson said a “comprehensive plan” on how the UK economy could be restarted through “resolve and ingenuity” will be revealed next week.
The UK has been in lockdown since March 24 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In unprecedented measures to curb the Covid-19 infection rate, people across the country have been unable to leave their properties except for important shopping, a daily exercise, to provide medical care, or to travel to and from essential work.
At the time the lockdown measures came into force, UK citizens were warned they could continue in some form for at least 13 weeks, or possibly even longer.
Mr Johnson’s comments came as the UK death toll rose to 26,711 on Thursday, an increase of 674 in the past day.
The prime minister added: “What you are going to get next week is really a road map, a menu of options – the dates and times of each individual measure will be very much driven by where we are in the epidemic, what the data is really saying and we are getting in a lot more data every day now and in the course of the next few days.”
Mr Johnson said he would next week set out how to kickstart the economy.
“Until this day comes (when an inoculation is ready), and we cannot say exactly when this will be, we are going to have to beat this disease by our growing resolve and ingenuity,” said the PM.
“I will be setting out a comprehensive plan next week to explain how we can get our economy moving, our children back to school and into childcare, and thirdly how we can travel to work and make life in the workplace safer.
“In short, how we can continue to suppress the disease and at the same time restart the economy.”
However the PM cautioned that the timing around easing each individual restriction would depend on “where we are in the epidemic” and what the data suggests.
Mr Johnson also said he believes that the UK was officially past the peak of coronavirus infections and claimed: “At no stage has our NHS been overwhelmed.”
He added: “No patient went without a ventilator, no patient was deprived of intensive care, we have five of the seven projected Nightingale wards,” he said.
“It is thanks to that massive collective effort to shield the NHS that we avoided an uncontrollable and catastrophic epidemic where the reasonable worst-case scenario was 500,000 deaths.
“I can confirm today that for the first time we are past the peak of this disease.
“We are past the peak and on the downward slope.”
The UK Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said there has been a decrease in the number of cases, as well as a decrease in the number of deaths from Covid-19.
He added: “The number of new cases is down, that’s turning into fewer admissions, fewer people in hospital, fewer people in intensive care and we’re beginning to see that decrease in deaths.”