Lockdown measures will not be relaxed next week, No 10 hints after Sturgeon says there's 'no possibility' of it

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Shehab Khan

Downing Street has hinted coronavirus lockdown restrictions will not be relaxed following a review next week, as it urged people to remain indoors over the Easter weekend.

A Cobra meeting due to be held later by First Secretary Dominic Raab will involve lockdown review discussions with leaders of the devolved nations.

But ahead of any decision, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden warned against any relaxation decision.

Ms Sturgeon told Sky News: "I don’t think there is any possibility, any likelihood, of these lockdown measures being lifted immediately, or even imminently."

Boris Johnson's spokesperson did not contradict that warning at the daily journalists' briefing.

“What we absolutely need to do now is keep bearing down on the rate of transmission which will mean continuing with social distancing measures to ensure we are protecting the NHS and saving lives,” the spokesperson said.

  • How to properly stick to the government's lockdown rules:

“We are at a critical point in this.

"That is certainly the case as we approach the Easter bank holiday weekend.”

The spokesperson added: "You are beginning to see the impact that is having but people really do need to stick with it at what is a critical juncture."

Mr Dowden, who said a decision will not be made on Thursday, but "next week" once the three-week mark, said it's unlikely the measures will be relaxed.

“I don’t think it’s very likely these measures are going to be changed given they’re just starting to have an effect but, as we said, we would review them.

"It’s only prudent that on an ongoing basis we review them after three weeks," he told BBC News.

  • Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden warns restrictions should stay in place

On Wednesday Mr Drakeford said a decision had already been made in Wales that restrictions will not be eased next week.

He insisted "we will not throw away the gains” by “abandoning our efforts just as they begin to bear fruit”.

The culture secretary gave an update on the Prime Minister’s health, saying Mr Johnson is doing “reasonably well” in St Thomas' Hospital in London.

Asked about whether the PM will be able to make a decision himself on the lockdown next week, Mr Dowden told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “He’s in a stable condition, he seems to be doing reasonably well, he was sat up and engaging with medical staff.

“But we have a well-established mechanism for the first minister Dominic Raab to take the Prime Minister’s place in chairing such meetings, he will chair Cobra and he will chair the relevant decisions.

"This is just about going through a proper process, that’s why we’re waiting for next week.”

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