Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, back at work after recovering from COVID-19, said on Monday (April 27) it was still too dangerous to relax a stringent lockdown hammering the economy as that may cause a deadly second outbreak.
Stressing it was still a time of maximum risk, he said he understood the concerns of business and would consult with opposition parties - but he made clear that there was to be no swift lifting of the lockdown.
Johnson's government, party and scientific advisers are divided over how and when the world's fifth largest economy should start returning to work, even in limited form.
The United Kingdom is one of the worst-hit nations, with more than 20,732 hospital deaths reported as of Saturday (April 25).
But the most stringent lockdown in peacetime has left the economy facing possibly the deepest recession in three centuries and the biggest debt splurge since World War Two.