When did the UK’s lockdown start and how long will it last?

29 April 2020, 18:10 | Updated: 29 April 2020, 18:15

The UK has now been in lockdown for over a month in an unprecedented move to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but when exactly were the measures put in place, and how long until it ends?

The UK has faced unprecedented changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Government announcing lockdown to help flatten out the curve and relieve the strain on the NHS.

We've stayed at home, closed public places, and cheered on the NHS and frontline staff who are either battling to save lives or bravely continuing to work amid the outbreak.

But what was the actual date that lockdown measures were put in place in the UK, how long will lockdown last and what are the five key tests that need to be met before the Government will ease measures? Find out what we know so far here.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced lockdown on Monday 23 May 2020
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced lockdown on Monday 23 May 2020. Picture: 1. SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images 2. PA Video/PA Wire/PA Images

When did the UK begin its strict lockdown measures?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday 23 March 2020 that the UK would be entering lockdown measures.

The first full day of lockdown began on Tuesday 24 March.

The public was told that they should only be leaving the house to do the following:

- To travel to and from work if you are a key worker or unable to work from home

- To shop for basic necessities

- To care for or assist a vulnerable person or for medical needs

Boris Johnson said in his speech: "If you don't follow the rules, the police have power to enforce them including with fines. We will immediately close all shops selling non-essential goods, other premises including libraries and places of worship."

READ MORE: Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds announce birth of baby boy

How long will the UK's lockdown measures last?

The UK government are yet to confirm a date for lockdown measures to be relaxed - with the Prime Minister stressing that it was too soon to throw away our efforts.

Speaking outside 10 Downing Street in his first address to the nation after his own coronavirus recovery, he said: "We must recognise the risk of a second spike. That would  be not only a new wave of death and disease, but also an economic disaster and we would be forced once again to slam on the breaks of the whole country and reimpose restrictions in such a way as to do more and lasting damage.

"I want to get this economy moving as fast as I can, but I refuse to throw away all the effort and the sacrifice of the British people and risk a second major outbreak and huge loss of life and the overwhelming of the NHS."

What will it take for lockdown to be eased and what are the five key tests that need to be met?

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab has stated that Government will not know if it's time to ease the lockdown measures until they receive the SAGE report on all five tests in early May.

The five aspects which will have to be achieved are:

Test 1. The NHS has the capacity to provide critical care across the UK

Test 2. A sustained and consistent fall in daily deaths from coronavirus

Test 3. The rate of infection decreased to manageable levels across the board

Test 4. Operational challenges including testing and PPE are in hand with supply able to meet future demand

Test 5. Confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections

READ MORE: Get the latest NHS advice on Coronavirus