The prime minister has promised to deliver a “comprehensive plan” next week on how schools and workplaces could safely reopen once lockdown restrictions are eased.
Speaking at his first daily briefing since returning to work after his own battle with Covid-19, Boris Johnson promised to lay out a “road map” out of lockdown next week.
During the conference, the prime minister revealed that the UK was past the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.
“I can confirm today for the first time that we are past the peak of this disease. We are past the peak and we are on the downward slope,” Johnson stated.
Johnson then announced that the government would next week publish what he called a “comprehensive plan” setting out “how we can continue to suppress the disease and at the same time restart the economy”.
However, he stressed any changes would only be enacted once the government was confident the outbreak was under control and that the five points set out last week were met.
“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.
“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.
“In short, how we can continue to suppress the disease and at the same time restart the economy.”
The government’s five tests for relaxing lockdown restrictions include the availability of adequate PPE and testing, and a sustained fall in the death rate.
But Johnson placed a particular emphasis on R, the reproduction number for the virus, measured as the average number of people each sufferer infects.
The target is to keep the R rate of transmission below 1, but even small reductions in the rate can help avoid thousands of new infections a day. At the moment, the government’s scientific advisers believe it is between 0.6 and 0.9.