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The coronavirus lockdown can only end when cases drop by another 93%, an NHS chief claims.
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to "resist pressure to loosen restrictions" before it is safe to do so.
He said cases need to fall below 50,000 before lockdown can be eased at all.
Earlier this week Mr Johnson sounded a note of caution as he set out the hope that this lockdown will be the last, but admitted he cannot offer "an absolute cast iron guarantee".
There are currently 695,400 active Covid-19 cases in England, meaning by Mr Hopson's estimation that figure needs to fall by a staggering 93%.
He said: "I think there is a pretty clear view that number needs to come down to around 50,000."
Among the first measures expected to be eased are the rules preventing Brits from leaving their homes more than once a day for exercise.
Mr Johnson will formally announce the roadmap out of lockdown on Monday, February 22.
'Rapid reopening' of shops and pubs after schools go back on March 8
He will outline the timeline and conditions for Britain returning to some sort of normality, including children going back to school and pubs and restaurants reopening.
He is also expected to ditch the government's "Stay at Home, Protect the NHS" slogan for a new message urging a slow and cautious return to some normality following the worst period of Covid deaths during the pandemic.
The Prime Minister has warned that the path out of lockdown would be "cautious but irreversible".
Outdoor drinking in pub gardens could be back on the agenda as early as April, and curbs will then be phased out in four-week intervals according to the plans.
- Boris Johnson
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