Is the UK ready for the coronavirus lockdown to be eased?

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondents Stacey Foster and Rupert Evelyn

With the government set to announce limited changes to the lockdown this weekend, some are now beginning to imagine a gradual return to normal life.

Number 10 said the government will move with "maximum caution" when lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England, but that hasn't seemed to allay everyone's concerns.

Two of our correspondent have been to the Midlands and the South-West to find out people's views on the lockdown.

Here's what they found.

There has been mixed reviews about whether to extend the lockdown in the UK. Credit: ITV News

Outrage and worry in the Midlands

More than 4,000 have died with Covid-19 in the Midlands, which makes many there worried about a potential easing of lockdown restrictions.

In Birmingham, a wholesaler lost their boss to the virus, meaning Amer Awan now runs the family firm alone.

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous, it’s still too early to do that,” he said.

“What I am afraid of is a second spike. I can only say that to you because I’ve lost a loved one, a close one, and I know what we have had to go through.”

Sian Smith and her family say they're safe at home, outside the city, but she's worried about things changing.

She said: “I feel like we had adjusted to this new way of life and although it’s not easy for a lot of people I just think throwing everyone back out there too quickly could potentially cause a second spike.

“It could cause more illness, we certainly don’t feel like we can go back to normal life at the moment.”

People are proceeding through the streets with caution. Credit: ITV News

ITV News Correspondent Rupert Evelyn in Salcombe, Devon

Bank Holiday weekend and the population of Salcombe should swell from a few hundred to many thousands yet it’s empty. Bereft of people it is also fortunate to have been relatively untouched by coronavirus but that presents a problem.

Keeping tourists socially distanced by keeping them out has stopped income flowing into this tourist town. Many businesses are desperate to open but not at any cost.

If the tourists return they fear a virus entering the community although without them the money dries up and the seasonal trade that funds the town from one year to the next is hit hard.

Many businesses have been unable to tap Into rescue funding as they operate on water and now they need government guidance on what will or won’t be safe. Devoid of activity everything seems calm for now but easing of lockdown in this seaside town may create unwanted waves.

  • ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent in Oldham, Greater Manchester

The strange quiet that has fallen over our neighbourhoods has been here for so long now. Children play in its corners, but for some mothers and fathers the lockdown has brought humiliation.

Matthew Croft told me his wages had been cut by more than half because of the outbreak. Last week he and his wife accepted a charity food parcel.

Making sure the children have enough to eat is of course a parent's first priority. Tanvir Ahmed is managing that, but home schooling is another matter.

Elsewhere on the estate, lockdown has put pay to future plans. Paul and Clare Brady started a cleaning business last autumn. There are signs of frustration with the lockdown across the neighbourhood, but for some of the neighbours, easing them is a frightening thought.

Leo McGiffen is being filmed here by his dad for his home school exercise class. His disabilities mean his family have not left the house once throughout lockdown.

This outbreak has exposed the fragility in our lives and our livings. To protect those precious things, lockdown will have to be left with great care.

Elsewhere, halfway between central London and the south coast, Crawley has for decades been on the up.

Prosperity, employment, a post war success but few places in the UK depend so singularly on one industry - and that is Gatwick airport - where barely a plane flies at present.

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot from Crawley

Ihsan Sharafyar has collected only a handful of passengers all week - as many as he used to pick up in a morning.

He's one of just a few drivers retained by the taxi company - and yet can't earn enough to provide for his wife and nine-month-old daughter.

He told ITV News: "There's no future to be honest, I don't know how I'll repay everything for the car, house rent, council tax, electric bill which to be honest I haven't paid yet."

Ihsan Sharafyar has collected only a handful of passengers all week, a dramatic drop from pre-lockdown. Credit: ITV News

P and H motorcycles are burning through their cash reserves at speed - and now they've been denied business interruption loans, which were meant to help.

When asked how his business was operating, Paul Searle described it as: "First gear, feels like reverse at the moment"

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