British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the Parliament that the government will likely begin easing the coronavirus lockdown restrictions from Monday, May 11. Speaking in the House of Commons for the first time after contracting COVID-19 in March, Johnson promised to announce the details of the plan on the weekend saying the government will want to “get going” some of the measures on Monday.
“We will want, if we possibly can, to get going with some of these measures on Monday. I think it would be good thing if people had an idea of what is coming," said the British PM.
Johnson emphasised the need for a gradual relaxation and reiterated that the second spike in coronavirus cases will be an economic disaster for the country. The Conservative leader also announced a new goal for COVID-19 testing by raising the capacity to 200,000 a day by the end of the month.
The 55-year-old UK leader has been under pressure from fellow party members to ease the lockdown restrictions for reopening of businesses as soon as possible. However, Opposition leader Keir Starmer had said that the Labour party would support the government on lockdown extension to protect lives and safeguard the economy.
Referring to the figures of the coronavirus death toll, Starmer asked the Prime Minister to explain “how on earth” did it come to this. Johnson said that every death is a tragedy and the opposition leader is right to draw the attention to the “appalling statistics”. Earlier, Starmer had pinned the blame on the Conservative government for being “too slow” on implementing the lockdown, testing, and on getting protective equipment to the frontline.
Meanwhile, Britain has overtaken Italy to record a sombre landmark of highest death toll related to COVID-19 in Europe, according to the latest report. UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) released weekly data on deaths occurring up to April 24 and registered up to May 2, adding around 7,000 more fatalities to the number reported by Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), taking the total to 32,313 as of late April.