UK lockdown may need extending - minister

Asked on Sky News whether the lockdown which begins on Thursday (November 5) might have to continue after December 2, Michael Gove said "Yes."

Interviewed by the BBC a short time later he said if the measures the government was taking now were successful it would provide an opportunity to lift some of the restrictions.

Gove said it was important to get the so-called R rate down to the figure one or below.

The R number represents the average number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to.

If that could not be done, the minister warned the National Health Service could be overwhelmed.

The United Kingdom, which has the biggest official death toll in Europe from COVID-19, is recording more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases a day.