Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he will set out a “comprehensive” plan next week on reopening schools and restarting the economy.
In his first briefing since his return to work, 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.
There have been 26,711 deaths in UK hospitals and the wider community, Mr Johnson said.
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.
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Later in the briefing, Mr Johnson said that keeping the reproduction rate down “is going to be absolutely vital to our recovery”.
He said “we can only do it by our collective discipline and working together”, adding: “I know we can do it because we did it… in phase one of this disease”.
“That’s why I’m absolutely convinced we can do it in phase two as well,” he said.