May 10, 2020 / 8:17 AM / a month ago

UK wants to 'slowly and cautiously' ease lockdown to restart economy: minister

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick speaks during a daily news conference to update on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at 10 Downing Street in London, Britain May 6, 2020. Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government wants to slowly and cautiously restart the economy, housing minister Robert Jenrick said on Sunday ahead of a televised address from the prime minister to set out plans to begin easing the coronavirus lockdown measures.

It has been nearly seven weeks since Boris Johnson asked Britons to stay at home to help prevent the spread of the virus, all but shutting down the economy.

“The message ... of staying at home now does need to be updated, we need to have a broader message because we want to slowly and cautiously restart the economy and the country,” Jenrick told Sky News.

Jenrick said the easing of the lockdown would be conditional on keeping the spread of the virus under control, and if the rate of infection begins to increase in some areas, more stringent measures could be re-introduced.

Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Frances Kerry

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