LONDON — Britain extended its nationwide lockdown for at least another three weeks on Thursday, as stand-in leader Dominic Raab ordered Britons to stay at home to prevent the spread of a coronavirus outbreak which has already claimed over 138,000 lives globally.
“Relaxing any of the measures currently in place would risk damage to both public health and the economy,” he told reporters.
Raab is deputizing while Prime Minister Boris Johnson recuperates from COVID-19 complications that nearly cost him his life.
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The United Kingdom has the fifth-highest official death toll from COVID-19 in the world, after the United States, Italy, Spain and France, though British figures only cover hospital fatalities and the real number is probably much higher.
The announcement, which had been widely expected, means Britons must stay at home unless they are shopping for basic necessities, or meeting medical needs. Citizens are allowed to exercise in public once a day, and can travel to work if they are unable to work from home.
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The measures were announced on March 23 for an initial three-week period.
1:30Coronavirus outbreak: Aerial view of residence where British PM Johnson will recover
Coronavirus outbreak: Aerial view of residence where British PM Johnson will recover