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Friday, 10 April 2020

'We're not done yet' Dominic Raab refuses even to discuss easing lockdown until end of NEXT week and tells people they MUST stay inside over sunny Easter weekend -despite fears of 'economic meltdown' - as UK suffers 881 more deaths

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the disease must not be allowed to 'kill more people and hurt our country' as he took the daily Downing Street briefing
Dominic Raab read the riot act to Britons ahead of the sunny Easter weekend tonight saying lockdown must stay in force until the coronavirus outbreak peaks. The Foreign Secretary said the disease must not be allowed to 'kill more people and hurt our country' as he took the daily Downing Street briefing. In a stark message, Mr Raab - deputising for Boris Johnson as he is treated in intensive care - said: 'We're not done yet. We must keep going.' However, ministers are facing a mounting backlash for stonewalling over their coronavirus 'exit plan', amid fears of massive damage to the economy. Mr Raab hinted this evening that they are avoiding doing so to avoid people 'taking their eye off the ball'. 'We will make the right decisions at the right moment and we will be guided by the science,' he said. The intervention came after Mr Raab chaired the Cobra crisis meeting this afternoon, and the UK recorded another 881 deaths - although in a small relief numbers fell back from the high of almost 1,000 declared yesterday.

The comments came after Mr Raab chaired the Cobra crisis meeting this afternoon, and the UK recorded another 881 deaths - although in a small relief numbers fell back from the high of almost 1,000 declared yesterday.


Far from easing the lockdown, police have been urging tighter restrictions such as barring people from driving long distances and making it illegal to exercise more than once a day - although Home Secretary Priti Patel batted away the calls tonight. 

But the trade-offs involved in the national effort are becoming increasingly clear, with claims two million people have already lost their jobs. 

The respected IFS think-tank has warned that more than a million people might suffer long-term illness as a result of the economic misery.

Labour's new leader Keir Starmer said ministers must spell out their 'exit strategy'. 'I'm not calling for precise timings, but the strategy,' he said. 'This is incredibly difficult on people and we need to know that plans are in place, and what they are.'  

Downing Street insisted planning is under way across Whitehall for the restrictions to be eased - but flatly refused to say what that might involve, saying the government's focus is on tackling the epidemic.  

On another punishing day as the world navigates the biggest crisis in a generation:

Mr Johnson is 'continuing to improve' in intensive care, and he has been sitting up 'engaging' with medical staff treating him at St Thomas' hospital, but Mr Raab said he has not spoken to him since he was admitted;
A respected think-tank has warned that a million people could end up with long-term health conditions as a result of the economic hit from coronavirus lockdown;
The Bank of England has extended the government's Ways and Means provision - effectively its overdraft;
New figures show the economy had effectively flatlined before the coronavirus crisis hit with 0.1 per cent growth in the three months to February; 
A bitter row has erupted between the government's chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance and other experts over whether lockdown measures had been modelled too late in the crisis; 
It has emerged that MPs have been offered an extra £10,000 in expenses to help them and staff work from home; 
EU officials have accused the UK government of being in 'fantasy land' by insisting the Brexit transition period cannot be extended beyond December; 
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the disease must not be allowed to 'kill more people and hurt our country' as he took the daily Downing Street briefing +7
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the disease must not be allowed to 'kill more people and hurt our country' as he took the daily Downing Street briefing

The UK has recorded 881 more coronavirus deaths today, taking Britain's total to 7,978 as its coronavirus crisis rumbles on and 4,344 more positive tests pushed the number of patients, past and present, to 65,077.

The grim tally is considerably smaller than the devastating 938 announced yesterday but still represents the second biggest surge since the epidemic began almost six weeks ago. Britain has so far managed to avoid the dark milestone of announcing 1,000 deaths in a single day, something that has only happened in the US.

NHS England announced 765 more fatalities in its hospitals among patients aged between 24 and 103, taking England's total to 7,248, and 116 deaths were announced in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Experts say it is still too soon to see the impact of the UK's lockdown in daily statistics but, speaking in today's Government briefing, chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said 'the NHS can cope' with the current situation. Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical adviser, added 'there is still room' in intensive care units.

In a direct appeal to the public, Mr Raab said: 'Above all, as we go into this long bank holiday weekend I think people should think very long and hard, not just about the guidance and the importance of keeping it up, but about what happens to those on the NHS frontline who are doing a heroic job, if people in large numbers don't comply with those rules.

'I would urge everyone just to take a moment before they do anything however warm it is, however great the temptation, just to think about the sacrifices those on the frontline, particularly in our NHS are making.'

Mr Raab said: 'While the early signs suggest that they are having the impact we need to see, it's too early to say that conclusively.

'Sage (the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies) will meet next week to discuss the latest evidence and we will keep the measures we've put in place under review.'

Mr Raab added: 'We don't expect to be able to say more on this until the end of next week.

'The measures will have to stay in place until we've got the evidence that clearly shows we've moved beyond the peak.'

No10 has made clear the PM will not be participating in any government business while he battles the disease in intensive care - meaning decisions are in the hands of Mr Raab and Cabinet.  

Asked if he had spoken to Mr Johnson since taking over his responsibilities, Mr Raab said: 'Not yet, I think it's important particularly while he's in intensive care to let him focus on the recovery.

'We in the Government have got this covered. I chaired the Cobra meeting that I have just come from, we are pursuing all the different strands of our strategy to defeat the coronavirus and I'm confident we'll get there.' 

Nicola Sturgeon preempted the hard line on lockdown this morning before she even attended the Cobra meeting. 'I don't think there is any possibility, any likelihood of these lockdown measures being lifted immediately, or even imminently,' she told Sky News. 

She added: 'I wouldn't expect any change coming out of today's Cobra meeting but we will see where the discussions take us.'   

Although a review of lockdown must happen next week by law, there is now no chance of it being lifted. Senior politicians are set to launch a 'Stay at Home This Easter' publicity drive later designed to avert an exodus of sunseekers.    

A report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) today raised fresh questions about the trade-offs involved in the extreme curbs, which are intended to stop hundreds of thousands being killed by the disease. 

The IFS said there is debate over 'whether the adverse health effects of a recession may be greater than the increased morbidity and mortality within the pandemic itself'. 

It stressed that the scale of the economic hit from the lockdown is unclear, but is likely to be 'much larger' than the 2008 credit crunch which meant 900,000 more people of working age developed serious health issues. 

Another 500,000 are estimated to have suffered poor mental health as a result of that crisis. 

If the economic hit is twice as large it would be expected to lead to 1.8million people enduring chronic illness, and a million mental health issues. 


In a sign of the intensifying strain on the country's finances, the Government said it has expanded its overdraft with the Bank of England to ensure it has sufficient cash to cope with disruption. 

Via - Dailymail

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