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Prime Minister Boris Johnson encourages people to go back to work if they can

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined plans to get society back to normal if the rate of coronavirus continues to drop.

In a pre-recorded message to the nation, Mr Johnson said from Wednesday people will be able to take part in sports, people who can't work from home should go back to work and suggested primary school pupils may be going back to school in June.

Boris Johnson addresses the nation on Monday Picture: BBC
Boris Johnson addresses the nation on Monday Picture: BBC

“No, this is not the time simply to end the lockdown this week,” he said. “Instead we are taking the first careful steps to modify our measures.”

The PM said he believes England may be in a position “to begin the phased reopening of shops” and get primary pupils back to school in steps staggered by year groups “at the earliest by June 1”.

And he said the ambition is to get secondary pupils facing exams next year to have “at least some time with their teachers before the holidays”.

In the third step, “at the earliest by July”, he said that ministers hope to re-open some of the hospitality industry, if the evidence supports the move and distancing can be enforced.

“You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports – but only with members of your own household,” he said.

This morning the government changed it's 'stay home' slogan to 'stay alert, control the virus and save lives' which was widely criticised.

He was expected to urge workers who cannot work from home to return to the workplace and follow social distancing rules.

“This is the dangerous bit,” Mr Johnson warned ahead of the announcement.The exercise limit was also expected to be lifted and garden centres allowed to reopen.

The Prime Minister put the country in to lockdown on March 23. The measures were put in place to stop the spread of the virus and more people dying with coronavirus

Despite this, 828 people have died with 630 in Kent hospitals. The latest statistics from the ONS suggests the county has gone past the peak as the numbers of deaths each day has fallen.

Read more: Tributes to those we've lost to coronavirus in Kent

The drop in the number of deaths lead to speculation ahead of Boris Johnson's announcement today about how the lockdown measures could be eased. We spoke to a cross section of Kent to see what they wanted him to say. Julian Spinks, a GP from Strood had hoped he would err on the side of caution.

He said: "Although the figures suggest we are probably past the peak they also suggest that they will take longer to diminish as they took to grow. If there is to be relaxation of the lockdown it needs to be a gradual process with sufficient time between the steps taken to assess the effects of the relaxation.

"The NHS has gone through dramatic changes to cope and it also needs to be cautious so that it does not lose the additional capacity before we are certain there is no second spike in cases."

Dr Julian Spinks at his Strood surgery
Dr Julian Spinks at his Strood surgery

Piers MacDonald, owner of Chatham Dockyard-based Nelson Brewery wanted like a clear message from the Tory leader.

"I would like him to layout a positive plan to get all business to reopen," he said. We will have a very nervous percentage of the population who will basically be too frightened to go out and back to some level of normality, so he needs to work some of his stardust onto them to reassure them all will be fine in the end."

Not everyone has been sticking to the previous lockdown rules, including a couple from Kent who had gone to Cornwall for a weekend, dozens of people who headed to the beach for the Easter weekend, and police were called to stop others trying to see animals at Howletts.

Chief constable Alan Pughsley revealed there have now been 113 fines handed out for people not complying with the lockdown rules.

There have also been 104 instances of people spitting and coughing on officers during lockdown, more than double the figure from last year.

An empty Ashford town centre during lockdown..Picture: Barry Goodwin
An empty Ashford town centre during lockdown..Picture: Barry Goodwin

Statistics revealed the highest number of deaths in the area is in Cliftonville West in Thanet where locals claim people are ignoring lockdown rules.

The chief constable said: "It's massively frustrating if people say yes, and then minutes later they're breaching the rules again."

"If we go right back to the beginning and ask 'why are the rules here?

"It's to stop the transmission of the disease which is ultimately leading to people's deaths - over 30,000 of them, let's put it into context."

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