Boris Johnson says he will set out plan next week to move towards ending lockdown
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will set out a ‘comprehensive’ plan next week on moving towards ending the coronavirus lockdown.
During the Downing Street daily press briefing, he said the Government has plans to restart the economy, reopening schools and how people might travel to work following an easing of restrictions.
The PM said the UK was "past the peak" of the coronavirus outbreak and "on the downward slope".
But he stressed the country must not "risk a second spike" of the virus.
Latest figures show 26,771 people with coronavirus have died in UK hospitals and the wider community, a rise of 674.
The prime minister said that "we can now see the sunlight", but he insisted that to avoid the "disaster" of a second peak the UK must meet the fifth of five tests before the lockdown can be lifted.
"Nothing we do should lift the R or reproduction rate - back above one," he said.
More than 81,000 coronavirus tests were carried out on Wednesday, still short of the government's target of 100,000 by the end of April. Mr Johnson insisted: "We're massively ramping up testing."
The prime minister said it was "vital" to avoid a second peak "because that would really do economic damage".
He added: "That's why we've got to calibrate our measures so carefully and make sure that we not only unlock the economy gradually, but also find ways of continuing to suppress the disease."
Mr Johnson said face coverings will be "useful" as part of the strategy for coming out of lockdown "both for epidemiological reasons but also giving people confidence they can go back to work".
Speaking at the No 10 briefing for the first time since recovering from the virus, the prime minister said: "I'm not going to minimise the logistical problems we've faced in getting the right protective gear to the right people in the right place, both in the NHS and care homes.
"But what i can tell you is that everyone responsible for tackling these problems, we are throwing everything at it, heart and soul night and day to get it right, and we will get it right."