Lockdown: Any easing of coronavirus restrictions in England will be 'very limited', No 10 says

The government will move with "maximum caution" when lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England, Number 10 has said, as ministers look to avoid a second peak while restarting the economy.

Boris Johnson's spokesperson acknowledged the "huge impact" lockdown was having on the economy, but warned it would be "worse" for the country's finances if a relaxing of measures resulted in a new spike in infections.

Ahead of the prime minister giving a statement on Sunday at 7pm - in which he will set out a "road map" for easing the lockdown - Mr Johnson told ministers in a Cabinet meeting on Thursday that he would not hesitate to tighten the rules again if required.

Nicola Sturgeon has already said restrictions will not be lifted in Scotland, despite Mr Johnson saying at PMQs on Wednesday that some lockdown restrictions could be lifted on Monday.

The PM's spokesman said if any changes are made in England, they will be "very limited".

Devolved powers on health mean Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland make their own decisions on lockdown.

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said its Cabinet met this morning and will meet again this evening before announcing "in due course" whether any changes will be made.

Ms Sturgeon did say, however, that people may be allowed out of their homes more than once per day day to exercise, so long as current measures such as social distancing and not meeting up with others, are adhered to.

The first minister called on all four UK countries to impose the same restrictions and warned "extreme caution" is needed.

The prime minister's spokesperson said Mr Johnson agreed it would be best to maintain the "four-nation approach".

“The four nations entered the restrictions at the same time and should, where it makes sense, exit the restrictions at the same time.

“We agree that the only circumstances where there should be divergence is when there is evidence that supports it.”

Ms Sturgeon insisted she would “not be pressurised” into lifting measures prematurely.

She explained she did not want to lift restrictions too early, and risk a potential second spike of coronavirus.

The caution was echoed by the PM's spokesperson, who said: “The prime minister said that in considering whether there could be any easement in the existing guidelines that we are not going to do anything that risks a second peak.

“We will advance with maximum caution in order to protect the NHS and save lives."

He added: "We will closely track the impact of any easing of the social distancing measures and will not hesitate to tighten the rules if required."

Aside from Cabinet, Mr Johnson held a call with opposition leaders about the approach to tackling coronavirus.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also called for a "national consensus" on the next phase of the government’s response to the coronavirus.

He said the call was “constructive”.

His spokesman added: "He also reiterated the seven principles that he wants the Government to consider when planning for the next phase, including safety at work and preventing a cliff-edge to the job protection scheme."

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know: