Coronavirus lockdown rules to stay in place for longer, government says

People enjoying the good weather in Greenwich Park, south London, as the public are being reminded to practise social distancing. (PA)
People enjoying the good weather in Greenwich Park, south London, as the public are being reminded to practise social distancing. (PA)

Lockdown measures will be reviewed every four weeks – instead of every three – under new government plans.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said the maximum review period will change from 21 days to 28 days.

The change means the next lockdown review will take place on June 25, with the last official review date having taken place on May 28.

In a written statement to MPs on Tuesday, Hancock said: "To ensure that we are making future decisions about the lockdown at the right time, the maximum review period will change from 21 days to 28 days.

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced the change to the review system on Tuesday. (Getty)
Health secretary Matt Hancock announced the change to the review system on Tuesday. (Getty)

“This will allow decisions to align more closely with the period of time necessary to assess the impact of previous changes on key data feeds, including the R (infection) rate,” he said.

“The government will also keep all the measures under continual review and will account to parliament on an ongoing basis.”

It comes as new quarantine rules are expected to be set out on Wednesday, which will allow those who are self-isolating to leave home for a number of reasons – including shopping for food.

The prime minister's official spokesman said: "I think there will be a limited set of exemptions, just as there was during the nationwide lockdown.

"For example I would expect people only to be able to leave the property in which they are quarantining if they need urgent medical treatment, support from social services, food or medicine which they cannot get delivered or get anybody else to bring to them, an emergency in the place they are staying – such as a fire – or to attend a funeral of a close relative."

Hancock also revealed on Tuesday that it is now a requirement to get tested for Covid-19 if you have symptoms.

"There's a new duty, and it is a duty that we now ask and expect of people,” he added in his Commons statement.

"If you have symptoms - that's a fever, a new continuous cough, a change in your sense of taste or smell - if you have one of these symptoms you must get a test.

"We have more than enough capacity to provide a test for anyone who needs one and we have more than enough capacity to trace all your contacts."

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