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18 May 2020, 15:04
At the daily press conference on Sunday 17 May, the Business Secretary said we are moving to 'stage three' of lockdown in the UK. Here's what that means.
The government announced yesterday that the UK is 'moving towards level three' of the coronavirus lockdown.
Speaking at yesterday's daily press conference, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said that careful steps will be taken to move the country forward to the next stage.
He said: "Throughout the period of lockdown we have been at Level four.
"Thanks to you, people across the country, we have collectively helped to bring the R level down. We are now in a position to begin moving to level 3, in careful steps."
"We have set out the first of three steps we will take to carefully modify the measures, gradually ease the restrictions and begin to allow people to return to their usual way of life while avoiding a disastrous second peak that overwhelms the NHS."
He said that the measures will only be eased when it's safe enough to do so, adding: "We will only take the next step when we are satisfied that it is safe to do so."
Britain has been operating under a stage four of lockdown, which is when the 'R' level is above one in some areas and the virus is not contained.
People in England are currently allowed to do unlimited outdoor exercise under this level, as announced by Boris Johnson in his televised address on 10 May.
Level three of lockdown can be entered into when the number of new infections are not increasing significantly, and the R rate is below one. This would mean that each person infected is infecting less than one person in turn, on average.
This new level of lockdown could mean that further lockdown measures are relaxed, with the government previously stating that they hope to gradually reopen schools from June 1.