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UK government starting work towards easing the coronavirus lockdown


By Scott Maclennan

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Downing Street briefing.
Downing Street briefing.

Less than six hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his ambition to reach 200,000 Covid-19 tests by the end of the month it was revealed that the 100,000 tests a day target had not been met.

Speaking at the daily Downing Street briefing, communities secretary Robert Jenricks said that just under 70,000 tests had been conducted in the past day .

Mr Jenricks said the Prime Minister would detail how the government plans to deal with the second phase of the virus which may include some of the measures which would see the lockdown eased.

However, Mr Jenricks started the briefing by praising the role of local and regional media that has helped keep the public informed throughout the crisis but which is nevertheless still under strain.

He said: “As communities secretary, I'd like to take this opportunity to give an update on the work being done locally during the pandemic to keep people safe to provide support for people's jobs and their businesses and to prepare for the reopening and the recovery of our local economies.

“A free country needs a free press, and the national, the regional and local newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure. I'd like to echo the words of the culture secretary recently in encouraging everyone who can to buy a newspaper.

“The prime minister will set out on Sunday our approach to the second phase of this pandemic and as we look ahead to supporting businesses as they are able to reopen, my department will lead our work on how our local economies can adapt, evolve, recover and grow.

“Every local economy now needs a plan to restart work and recover.

"We will be informing these plans with our own detailed work in areas such as how workplaces, from factories to construction sites to officers can be adapted, how outdoor spaces, leisure and businesses from parks to High Streets to markets can be managed by public transport networks from the tube to trams to buses can operate.

“In each case, guided by scientific and medical advice, we want to ensure appropriate and safe social distancing providing the public with the confidence to return to work and to return to public spaces and public transport knowing that it is always safe to do so.

“We are considering how we can create more room in town centres for pedestrians, how we can make it easier to cycle or walk to work and we will work with towns and places whose economies have been hardest hit intensively as the recovery begins.”


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