UK could start easing virus lockdown next week: PM

, , ,

(London) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he could begin to ease a nationwide coronavirus lockdown next week, but warned he would do nothing that would risk a new surge of cases.

He was speaking the day after Britain overtook Italy to become the worst-hit country in Europe, with more than 32,000 deaths related to COVID-19 — behind only the United States in the global rankings.

Johnson said that “every death is a tragedy”, calling the statistics “appalling”, but said there was not yet enough data to make international comparisons.

In particular, he said he “bitterly regrets” the deaths in care homes, which stand at more than 6,000, but added that there had been a “palpable improvement” in the last few days.

The wider death rate is coming down, six weeks after the government imposed stay-at-home orders to stem the rate of infection, and the lockdown measures are up for review on Thursday.

Speaking in parliament for the first time since he himself was hospitalised with coronavirus, Johnson said the government would review the data and he would set out the next steps on Sunday.