Wearing face masks at home may be the best way to stop COVID-19

Wearing face masks at home might help to stop COVID-19 spreading among family members, study shows

  • The Chinese study asked 124 families in Beijing about their health and hygiene 
  • Every family involved in the study had at least one confirmed coronavirus case
  • They say public COVID-19 prevention measures could also be used in the home 
  • This includes washing hands, social distancing, wearing a mask and cleaning 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Putting on a face mask when you’re at home could help slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus between members of the same family, a study found.

Researchers from the Beijing Centre for Disease Prevention and Control say this only works to slow the infection rate in family members before symptoms develop.

The study of 124 Chinese families in Beijing found wearing a mask indoors was 79 per cent effective at stopping the spread when compared to not wearing a mask.

This only applies before symptoms emerged in the first person in the household infected by COVID-19 – after symptoms appear a mask doesn’t make a difference.

Putting on a face mask when you’re at home could help slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus between members of the same family, a study found. Stock Image

Household transmission is a major driver in the spread of the virus, researchers say and they believe face masks worn indoors can slow this spread.

They say that precautionary guidelines such as wearing a mask, practicing 6ft social distancing and deep cleaning could be introduced for people at home. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Public Health England haven’t endorsed the wearing of face masks indoors or outdoors, on the grounds that there’s little good quality evidence to warrant recommending this. 

However, the government has recommended that the public consider wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces and evidence has shown they can slow the spread of droplets of breath from sneezes, coughs and even talking.

So far this only applies to shops, trains and buses, but this new research could see that extended to people in their own home if a family member has the virus.

The researchers asked 335 people from 124 families – with at least one laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case between late February and late March 2020 – about their household hygiene and behaviours during the pandemic.

The researchers analysed what factors might increase or decrease the risk of catching the virus within the incubation period.

That period covers the 14 days from the start of a person’s symptoms.

They found that during this time secondary transmission – spread from the first infected person to other family members – occurred in 41 out of the 124 families.

A total of 77 adults and children were infected in this way, giving an ‘attack rate’ of 23 per cent, the researchers say.

About a third of the children in the study caught the virus compared with more than two-thirds of the adults – adding to evidence children are less likely to catch it.

The researchers asked 335 people from 124 families – with at least one laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case between late February and late March 2020 – about their household hygiene and behaviours during the pandemic. Stock Image

The study also found that 12 of the children had mild symptoms and one had none.

Some 83 per cent of the adults had mild symptoms and around one in 10 had severe symptoms. Only one person in the study group became critically ill.

Daily use of disinfectants, window opening and keeping at least one metre apart were associated with a lower risk of passing on the virus.

Those findings even applied in more crowded households, the researchers found.

Frequent contact in the household increased the risk of transmission 18 times and diarrhoea in the first patient increased the risk by four times. 

‘Results demonstrate the importance of pre-symptomatic infectiousness of Covid-19 patients and shows that wearing masks after illness onset does not protect.’

A face mask worn before symptoms started was 79 per cent effective, and disinfection 77 per cent effective, at stopping the virus from being passed on.

Study authors say the findings back universal face mask use, not just in public spaces but also while at home – especially if someone in the family has COVID-19.  

The research has been published in the journal BMJ Global Health.


Americans are increasingly being spotted wearing face masks in public amid the coronavirus pandemic, as are people are around the globe.

Soon, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may advise all Americans to cover their faces when they leave the house, the Washington Post reported.  

The agency is weighing that recommendation after initially telling Americans that they didn’t need to wear masks and that anything other than a high-grade N95 medical mask would do little to prevent infection any way. 


Research on how well various types of masks and face coverings varies but, recently, and in light of the pandemic of COVID-19, experts are increasingly leaning toward the notion that something is better than nothing. 

A University of Oxford study published on March 30 concluded that surgical masks are just as effective at preventing respiratory infections as N95 masks for doctors, nurses and other health care workers. 

It’s too early for their to be reliable data on how well they prevent infection with COVID-19, but the study found the thinner, cheaper masks do work in flu outbreaks. 

The difference between surgical or face masks and N95 masks lies in the size of particles that can – and more importantly, can’t – get though the materials. 

N95 respirators are made of thick, tightly woven and molded material that fits tightly over the face and can stop 95 percent of all airborne particles, while surgical masks are thinner, fit more loosely, and more porous. 

This makes surgical masks much more comfortable to breathe and work in, but less effective at stopping small particles from entering your mouth and nose. 

Droplets of saliva and mucous from coughs and sneezes are very small, and viral particles themselves are particularly tiny – in fact, they’re about 20-times smaller than bacteria. 

For this reason, a JAMA study published this month still contended that people without symptoms should not wear surgical masks, because there is not proof the gear will protect them from infection – although they may keep people who are coughing and sneezing from infecting others. 

But the Oxford analysis of past studies – which has not yet been peer reviewed – found that surgical masks were worth wearing and didn’t provide statistically less protection than N95 for health care workers around flu patients. 

However, any face mask is only as good as other health and hygiene practices. Experts universally agree that there’s simply no replacement for thorough, frequent hand-washing for preventing disease transmission. 

Some think the masks may also help to ‘train’ people not to touch their faces, while others argue that the unfamiliar garment will just make people do it more, actually raising infection risks.  

If the CDC does instruct Americans to wear masks, it could create a second issue: Hospitals already face shortages of masks and other PPE.


So the agency may recommend regular citizens use alternatives like cloth masks or bandanas. 

‘Homemade masks theoretically could offer some protection if the materials and fit were optimized, but this is uncertain,’ Dr Jeffrey Duchin, a Seattle health official told the Washington Post. 

A 2013 study found that next to a surgical mask, a vacuum cleaner bag provided the best material for a homemade mask. 

After a vacuum bag, kitchen towels were fairly protective, but uncomfortable. Masks made of T-shirts were very tolerable, but only worked a third as well as surgical mask. The Cambridge University researchers concluded that homemade masks should only be used ‘as a last resort.’ 

But as the pandemic has spread to more than 164,000 people worldwide, it might be time to consider last resort options.  


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Aldi May bank holiday opening times – here's what time stores open on Monday

ALDI stores across the UK will remain open during this bank holiday weekend, but shoppers should expect slightly different opening hours.

We explain all you need to know if you need to pick up some essentials at the discounter.

What time is Aldi open over the bank holiday weekend?

Aldi hasn't yet confirmed its opening hours for this bank holiday weekend, but we expect them to be similar to the last bank holiday on May 8.

At the time, the stores were open from 8am to 8pm on the bank holiday Friday, so we reckon they'll be the same this Monday, May 25.

Its shops were then open from 8am till 10pm on Saturday, and from 10am to 4pm on Sunday.

Aldi usually opens half an hour early for vulnerable and elderly customers Monday to Saturday and this also applied during the bank holiday.

Closing times can vary from shop to shop though, so it's always important to check your local branch.

You can do this by using the store finder on Aldi's website.

On April 14, Aldi extended its opening hours so shoppers can nab groceries until 10pm Monday to Saturday during normal weeks.

Does Aldi offer online delivery?

Yes, Aldi’s online delivery service is currently running as normal, although it only sells non-food items on its website.

Due to increased demand, the timeframe for deliveries has also been delayed in some areas so make sure you double-check this in advance.

A standard delivery is free for orders over £20 and costs from £2.95 for orders under £20.

When are the bank holiday dates for 2020?

Here is the full list of upcoming 2020 bank holidays in England and Wales.

Dates in Scotland and Northern Ireland vary.

  • Monday, August 31 (Summer Bank Holiday)
  • Friday, December 25 (Christmas Day)
  • Monday, December 28 (substitute Boxing Day)

Several shops are reopening branches for the bank holiday including Furniture Village, Poundland, and Ikea.

Changes to pubs and restaurants have also been announced, in preparation for them to reopen.

While fast food chains, including McDonald's have also started reopening.

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Queen Elizabeth May Not Be Able to Resume Her Royal Duties After Quarantine

As we all probably know by now, the coronavirus pandemic will have a big effect on our lives even after quarantine ends. And while we don’t know exactly what those effects will look like, royal biographers have a guess as to one of them: the Queen may never return to her royal duties.

According to The Sun, even though Queen Elizabeth “does not want to slow down or stop working,” she will also follow “any official advice designed to protect people in her age category,” meaning that she might not be able to resume her public life (attending engagements, meeting diplomates, giving speeches at events) for a long time.

And while the Queen’s royal staff has reportedly cleared her calendar until the fall, royal biographer Andrew Morton tells The Sun that it may be unlikely that the Queen will return to her public duties at all. He says:

He also suggests that Prince Charles might be the one to take up some limited royal engagements if the Queen can’t. But hopefully, after this is all over, the palace can find a way for Queen Elizabeth to safely take on her royal obligations once more.

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Hard Rock may reopen Florida casinos as coronavirus lockdowns ease

Hard Rock chairman plans to reopen Florida casinos with coronavirus safety measures

Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen says Florida casinos could reopen by the end of May or early June.

Hard Rock International may reopen some Florida casinos with new coronavirus safety measures as soon as the end of May as the U.S. gradually lifts lockdowns imposed to curb the disease's spread.

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There is no definitive timeline for following suit worldwide,  Hard Rock International chairman Jim Allen told FOX Business' Dagen McDowell.

The company shuttered operations alongside competitors as governments imposed stay-at-home orders to curb large gatherings where the virus might be transmitted more easily. Hard Rock International has venues across 75 countries, including 180 cafes, 24 hotels and 11 casinos.


A game of roulette at the Hard Rock casino in Atlantic City N.J. on May 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

The shutdowns battered the hospitality industry, taking a toll on S&P 500 Casino & Gaming  firms such as Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts. In fact, casinos in Macao, the world’s largest gambling enclave, reported a record plunge in gaming revenue in February after a 15-day closure due to the virus, first identified in Wuhan, China.

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With local governments working to reopen parts of the now-battered U.S. economy, casinos are beginning to get back into the game.

"We are anticipating very large crowds," Allen said. "We saw opens last week in other parts of the U.S. and frankly, volumes are tremendous."

Allen's projection comes just after hundreds of people stood in line Tuesday waiting to enter a casino in central Oklahoma that was allowed to reopen with social distancing restrictions and sanitation safeguards in place.


To guard against a resurgence of the coronavirus, Hard Rock plans to limit crowds to 50 percent of capacity, create sanitizing stations, keep some machines turned off to support social distancing, use dividers at tables, shields for dealers and begin thermal body imaging at its larger casinos.

Employees will also be equipped with gloves and masks.

Hard Rock's plan comes on the heels of similar measures at rival MGM Resorts, which released its “Seven-Point Safety Plan” Tuesday.

This story contains material from the previous FOX Business reports.


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IRS sets deadline of May 13 to submit direct deposit information for stimulus checks – The Sun

THOSE who haven’t received a stimulus check and need to give their banking information to the federal government have until May 13 to do so.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said on Friday that those who qualify for and want the $1,200 coronavirus relief payment have until Wednesday to submit their information online.

"We're working hard to get more payments quickly to taxpayers," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement.

"We want people to visit Get My Payment before the noon Wednesday deadline so they can provide their direct deposit information.”

He added: “Time is running out for a chance to get these payments several weeks earlier through direct deposit."

After the Wednesday deadline, the government will start sending paper checks that will get to Americans in later May and in June.

To fill out your information, visit: IRS.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.

Once there, click “Get My Payment” and fill out the appropriate information that the IRS needs to send you the relief payment via direct deposit.

The website will ask for a Social Security number, date of birth, street address, and zip code.

It will also ask for 2018 or 2019 tax return and banking information so the money can be directly deposited into bank accounts.

The “Get My Payment” tool can also be used to check the status of stimulus checks.

The payments are part of the $2.2trillion rescue package signed into law in March that’s aimed at combating the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Most people don’t need to do anything to get the money, and were sent the money automatically, based on direct deposit information on their previous tax returns.

Anyone earning up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income and who has a Social Security number will receive a $1,200 payment.

That means married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment — $2,400 — if their adjusted gross income, which is what they report on their taxes, is under $150,000.

For those who make more, the payment declines: Those earning more than $99,000, or $198,000 for joint filers, are not eligible.

Parents will also receive $500 for each qualifying child.

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Queen’s Brian May can’t walk or sleep after ripping a muscle during ‘over-enthusiastic gardening’ – The Sun

QUEEN lead guitarist Brian May can't walk or sleep after ripping his gluteous maximus muscle during "over-enthusiastic gardening".

The 72-year-old rock legend said he was being "over-stretched" and "harassed by too many demands" before he suffered the injury.

But it took a spot of "over-enthusiastic gardening" for his gluteous maximus to be "ripped to shreds".

The gluteous maximus is the largest and main muscle in control of the hip and makes up the biggest part of the bum.

Brian told his followers: "Reality check ! For me. No – the Virus didn’t get me yet – thank God. Hope you’re all keeping extra-safe out there.

"A decision to relax controls doesn’t suddenly make the danger go away. But me ?? Yes, I’ve been quiet. Reason ? As well as getting over-stretched and harassed by too many demands … I managed to rip my Gluteus Maximus to shreds in a moment of over-enthusiastic gardening.

"So suddenly I find myself in a hospital getting scanned to find out exactly how much I’ve actually damaged myself.

"Turns out I did a thorough job – this is a couple of days ago – and I won’t be able to walk for a while … or sleep, without a lot of assistance, because the pain is relentless.

"So, folks … I need to go dark for a while, getting some complete rest, at home.

"Please, please don’t send me sympathy – I just need some healing silence for a while. I’ll be back – but I need the complete break. OK ? Thanks. Take care out there."

May co-founded Queen with lead singer Freddie Mercury and drummer Roger Taylor after previously performing with Roger in the band Smile.

Queen has been estimated to have sold between 170 million to 200 million records, making them one of the world's best-selling music artists of all time.

May recently ruled out a sequel to the award-winning 2018 Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.

"Don't think we didn't think about it," he told Rolling Stone.

"We've talked. Basically we think not, at the moment. Things could change, I suppose, but I think it would be difficult."

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Daily horoscope for Sunday May 3 — here’s what the stars have in store for you today – The Sun


March 21 to April 20

All the steps you need for a work transformation are in place, so now is the time to take them – and blossom.

Meanwhile, Saturn helps you occupy spare hours with useful tasks, but you also have an individual streak that makes everything you do really count.

In love, Venus and the moon help with commitment



April 21 to May 21

Yes, you really are in charge, but for a few days let someone else lead – especially in love.

You will discover some fabulous aspects of a bond.

If you are single, do not let technical hiccups put you off what can be a charged connection.

Mercury makes thinking time really matter, so clear your mind and get to it.


May 22 to June 21

The sun and moon bring deep ambitions to the surface.

Try not to slap them down, and instead tap into their potential – especially in health or fashion fields.

You have a gift for talking in easy and encouraging ways and helping others to do the same.

A fitness-first full moon leads you to take schedules seriously.


June 22 to July 22

Making an effort to mark a special day in a unique way revives warmth among friends and family.

You find a fresh motivation to take a learning goal to the next stage.

Elsewhere, a playful, full moon sets up a sensual challenge in a partnership.

Single? Look again at a kind, quiet volunteer.

July 23 to August 23

A first-time screen sighting is the key to levelling up in love – and it will happen when you least expect it.

Fresh air and family truths make a positive combination, so talk as you walk to burn off any old resentments or regrets.

A moon of word-based security encourages personal writing, but it must be 100 per cent honest.


August 24 to September 22

You have a chart of quiet emotional strength that propels you forward where others might get stuck.

You are sure of what you feel and now is the moment to say so.

You find a new way to share your skill of making people or places look their best, and this brings a boost to your future.

Luck looks through old papers.


September 23 to October 23

A face in front of a bright coloured background speaks straight to you and you understand what you have to do next.

You have a tender and caring chart, and you find many ways to show it.

A moon of individual destiny also tasks you with making a list of your true skills before talking to the right people to develop them.

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October 24 to November 22

You really make your mark as your chart builds up to a personal full moon.

You can impress any audience and win any race, but perhaps not in your normal style, so be open to all ideas.

An ornate mirror opens your eyes to new passion possibilities, and Mars cuts through family excuses to fix genuine issues.


November 23 to December 21

Too much leisure time will dampen down your creative spark.

However, your chart shows you are ready to really push yourself, starting with a more dedicated daily and weekly routine.

Set limits for yourself and you will bloom.

Purple flowers, a four-letter logo and a book you have started three times link you to luck.


December 22 to January 20

Your showcase zone powers up with Mercury’s input, and writing or filming a product based on your life reaches a wide audience, including a hot love interest on a “T” day.

Learning works better when you collaborate with others, and career ladders extend higher than you think.

Build fun into fitness, even for just one day.


January 21 to February 18

The power of the sun and moon helps you to set old rivalries aside so you can rebuild a family or love bond together.

The more you change yourself, the more others will follow.

In love? Passion feels as exciting as if it was the beginning.

If you are single, a group of five faces includes your fate mate.


February 19 to March 20

Playing or listening to music with others is a strong bonding experience, so join in when you get the chance.

Express what you really feel instead of second-guessing everyone else.

Elsewhere, a career moon mixes learning, travel and love together in a role created especially for you.

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May Day 2020 bank holiday: Why is it on a Friday this year? – The Sun

THE three day May bank holiday starts on Friday 8 to Sunday May 10, marking the second time the date has been shifted in history.

But why is it being moved from its traditional spot on the first Monday of the month?

When is the May Day bank holiday in 2020?

Normally the early May bank holiday falls on the first Monday of May.

But in 2020 it won't be on May 4, it will be on Friday, May 8.

The Government announced the change of date in June to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

The day has only been moved once before, in 1995, to mark the 50th anniversary of VE Day.

What is VE Day?

VE Day stands for Victory in Europe Day which took place on Tuesday, May 8, 1945.

It was the day on which allied forces announced the surrender of Germany in Europe.

It marked the end of Adolf Hitler’s war and sparked celebrations around the world.

The day before at 2.41pm on May 7, 1945, Germany had surrendered.

Hitler had committed suicide a week earlier leaving Grand Admiral Donitz of the German army to admit defeat.

The Normandy landings in June 1944 had proved instrumental in achieving victory for the allies, as had the huge eastern offensives of the USSR.

Six years of war that had cost the lives of millions had finally come to a close.

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BAME students may suffer from grading bias, warns Equalities watchdogs

Equalities watchdog warns exam bosses that black and ethnic minority students will suffer from grading bias after Covid-19 halted GSCEs and A-levels

  • GCSE and A-Level students will be awarded their grades by schools and colleges
  • Equalities watchdog warn BAME and disabled pupils could suffer grading bias
  • They accused Ofqual of not going far enough to ensure results would be fair
  • Ofqual have however said students can resit exams in autumn or summer 2021 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

An equalites watchdog has warned the body in charge of school exams that not enough is being done to stop ‘unconscious bias’ against black and ethnic minority students (BAME) when teachers award grades for GCSEs and A-levels cancelled in the coronavirus crisis. 

Ofqual have set out the grading process for this summer by instructing schools and colleges to award students with a grade that reflects what they would have achieved if they sat their exams. 

But now the Equality and Human Rights Commission says Ofqual’s measures will not go far enough to keep grades fair for disadvantaged pupils.

Equalities watchdog have warned BAME and disabled students may suffer grading bias

‘Our view is that this guidance in itself will not address the risk of unconscious or conscious bias by exam centres predicting grades for students,’  they said in a statement to the TES.  

The EHRC called on the Government to issue guidance on ‘the approach which teachers should take to predicting grades in order to minimise the risk of bias’.

A student’s ethnic background should be provided to exam boards and Ofqual to check for systematic advantages or disadvantages once results have been handed out, it said.

‘Following this process, Ofqual should publish a report evaluating the predicted grades process and outcomes for pupils,’ the EHRC added in a statement.

School and college teachers will give GCSE and A-Level results after exams were cancelled

‘If the evaluation reveals higher than average disparities for pupils with protected characteristics, these should be investigated thoroughly, with appropriate remedial action taken.’

The EHRC have also raised concerns that pupils needed a ‘meaningful and timely route of appeal’.

Ofqual are working with the Secretary of State for Education on appeal procedures and have said that students who disagree with their predicted A-Level or GCSE results will be able to resit exams in either autumn or summer 2021, and will be able to use the higher of the two grades. 

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Boris Johnson may miss his first PMQs face-off with Keir Starmer today

Boris Johnson may miss his first PMQs face-off with Keir Starmer today after his coronavirus recovery with Dominic Raab set to stand-in unless PM feels ‘well enough’

  • Downing Street has refused to say whether Mr Johnson will take part in PMQs
  • Dominic Raab expected to face Sir Keir Starmer in the Commons instead 
  • Source: ‘The deputy will be doing it tomorrow, unless Boris changes his mind’
  • Boris gave speech on Monday and observed minute’s silence in No 10 yesterday
  • His fiancee Carrie Symonds, who is expected their baby, had been at Chequers 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Boris Johnson may not appear at Prime Minister’s Questions today amid fears the extended hour-long session could be too arduous after his coronavirus battle.

Downing Street has refused to say whether Mr Johnson, who was back at work on Monday, would be well enough to face new Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in the Commons at Midday.   

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab would step in again to face uncomfortable questions about PPE, testing and the UK’s high level of coronavirus-related deaths, especially in care homes.

A final decision will be made by the PM this morning, but one senior source told the Telegraph: ‘The deputy will be doing it tomorrow, unless Boris changes his mind. He is still not well enough’. 

On his first full day back in Downing Street on Monday, the Prime Minister spoke optimistically about entering a ‘second phase’ of the battle against the coronavirus in which some of the crippling restrictions can be relaxed.

But viewers said he looked thin and sounded croaky during parts of the speech, understandably after fighting for his life in intensive care earlier this month. And yesterday he observed the minute’s silence for the frontline workers who have died during the pandemic. 

But he has not made any other public appearances – and his heavily pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds, who will give birth this summer, has not been seen at all. The couple were together at Chequers over the weekend. 

Boris Johnson gave a short speech in Downing Street on Monday but may not be well enough for PMQs today

Carrie Symonds, who is having a baby with Mr Johnson (pictured together on March 9), has also been in self-isolation but was with her fiance at Chequers over the weekend

Mr Johnson said in early March that he is likely to take his two-week paternity leave when their child is born. 

Last week Sir Keir Starmer  used his first PMQs as Labour leader to accuse the Government of lagging behind the rest of Europe on testing and catastrophic failings on PPE. 

The new Labour leader will hold talks with Mr Johnson about the crisis on the phone this afternoon.  

The PM has said the current lockdown phase would see the government ‘continue to suppress the disease… but begin gradually to refine the economic and social restrictions, and one by one to fire up the engines of this vast UK economy’.

Speaking on the steps of Downing Street, the PM hinted that any easing of the lockdown in the coming weeks would be very gradual and would involve difficult trade offs.

But he pledged to involve the public, business and opposition leaders in striking the right balance between controlling the epidemic and returning to something like normal life.

‘These decisions will be taken with the maximum possible transparency,’ he said. ‘And I want to share all our working and our thinking, my thinking, with you the British people.’ Mr Johnson, who spent three days in intensive care battling the disease, likened it to an ‘invisible mugger’ which the country had ‘begun together to wrestle to the floor’.

Standing in for Boris Johnson in the Commons, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (left) defended the painful progress towards the target of 100,000 tests a day by the end of the month. Sir Keir Starmer (right) also hit out at bungling over life-threatening shortages of PPE 

He added: ‘This is the moment of opportunity – this is the moment when we can press home our advantage ‘It is also the moment of maximum risk.’ Government sources indicated that ministers would start to spell out some of the possible choices in the coming days.

These include the possible reopening of some retail outlets, such as garden centres, and discussion of whether to reopen schools after the half-term break at the end of this month.

The Prime Minister is also set to replace the existing ‘Stay Home’ slogan with a slightly more relaxed message in the coming days.

But sources cautioned against any relaxation of the rules ahead of the May 7 lockdown review date.


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