Boris Johnson eased lockdown despite scientists refusing to reduce virus threat level

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Lockdown restrictions have been further eased - but Downing Street has confirmed the Covid Alert Level remains at 4. (AP)

The government has eased lockdown restrictions in England despite the coronavirus threat level remaining “high”, it has emerged.

During Thursday’s daily press conference Boris Johnson was expected to lower the threat level from 4 to 3 when he announced restrictions would be eased - but did not mention it.

On Wednesday during the House of Commons Liaison Committee, before the lockdown-easing announcement, the prime minister instructed MPs: “We’re coming down from level 4 to level 3 we hope, we’re taking a decision tomorrow.”

However, the PM’s official spokesman has today admitted the coronavirus threat level remains at 4 - indicating that transmission of the virus is still “high.

He said: "It is four, the PM said at the Liaison Commitee it was moving downwards but it remains in level four... you have the PM’s words from earlier this week which sets out the position.

“In terms of moving towards the steps we announced yesterday, that was always dependent on meeting the five tests, which we are currently doing."

The spokesman pointed out the Joint Biosecurity Centre, which manages the coronavirus alert level, is still not fully operational, continuing: “It’s carrying out some of its functions already, including giving support to the chief medical officers.

“It will be fully operational in the coming weeks.”

From Monday, groups of 6 people will be allowed to meet in gardens and parks, while primary school children will return to classrooms.

Mr Johnson gave the green light to barbeque gatherings - however, Sir Patrick Vallance said that the daily infection rate of 8,000 was by no means "a low number".

No.10 also warned the public that six-people meet-ups remain prohibited until Monday. (PA)

No.10 also warned the public that six-people meet-ups remain prohibited until Monday.

The PM’s spokesman continued: “We’ve said that wherever possible we would give a period of notice in advance of changes being made, ideally 48 hours or more, which is true in this respect.

“The current regulations are in force until Monday.

“I think the PM set out yesterday we’re enormously grateful for the efforts of the British public in sticking by the rules and getting the infection rate down and that does mean that from June 1 we will be able to allow people to have some more social contact in a safe and socially-distanced way.”

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