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Lockdown restrictions will be brought back if coronavirus R-rate rises like in Germany, minister warns

Boris Johnson will not hesitate to reimpose lockdown measures if infections surge again, a minister said today following signs of a fresh outbreak in Germany.

Home Office minister James Brokenshire said it was “concerning” to see the rate of transmission rise in Germany after Lockdown restrictions were eased.

The Prime Minister has begun the formal process for the biggest relaxation of the UK’s economic straitjacket yet, including the switch from the two-metre rule of social distancing to a “one metre-plus” rule.

Tomorrow pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and other businesses are expected to be given the go-ahead to reopen on July 4. Next week Mr Johnson will follow up with a speech dubbed “build, build, build”, setting out plans to invest heavily in infrastructure and hospital construction to power up the economy.

Mr Johnson met ministers and scientific and medical advisers today to agree the economic release.

Mr Brokenshire said that ministers and scientists would watch the so-called R rate in the UK to see if any of the measures caused an uptick. “If we see the R-number going up, we may need to stop,” he said.

Asked about the recent rise in Germany, albeit from a much lower level of infections and fatalities, he said: “It is concerning … It’s why we are informed in our actions by experience from around the world, why the chief scientific officer, the chief medical officer, speak to their counterparts in different parts of the world to ensure that we are applying the best learning in informing our next steps.”

The cost of the lockdown to the mental health of young people was revealed in official data this morning .

Around four in 10 young people who say coronavirus has affected their wellbeing believe the lockdown has made their mental health worse, according to analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Some 42 per cent of people aged 16 to 29 said their mental health had deteriorated, compared with 25 per cent of those aged 30 to 59 and 15 percent of those people aged 60 and over.

The figures cover the period April 3 to May 10 and are based on responses to the ONS’s regular opinions and lifestyle survey.

They show that of those who said coronavirus had affected their wellbeing, 51 per cent of 16- to 29-year-olds felt lonely, compared with 27 per cent of 30- to 59-year-olds and 26 per cent of people aged 60 and over.

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