Lockdown Britain needs to see “light at the end of the tunnel”, Labour leader Keir Starmer has warned as ministers prepare to extend the shutdown by another three weeks.
Whitehall is working on an exit plan, but the PM’s spokesman said: “We are at a critical stage in seeking to slow transmission of this disease.
“The public has been making the most incredible effort. But now is not the time to let up.
“We will be led by medical and scientific advice as to when … is the appropriate stage to be talking about what comes next.”
Ministers are under pressure to let children return to schools as early as May 11 amid fears measures cannot be relaxed for workers until kids go back.
The UK death toll hit 12,868 today, up 761 in 24 hours.
But deputy chief scientific adviser Dame Angela McLean said positive tests for Covid-19 had not risen for two weeks.
She said: “I see a flattened curve.”
The number of coronavirus patients in the hospital fell by 1% nationally on Tuesday and by 5% in London.
She said: “What I see is evidence that efforts to stay home and not have as much contact with other people is having the impact we hoped.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock relaxed rules so families can visit dying relatives in hospitals and care homes.
At the No10 press conference, he said people would be given the “chance to say goodbye” to loved ones “wherever possible”.
Highlighting the case of 13-year-old Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, from South London, who died without his mum or dad, Mr Hancock said: “As a father of a 13-year-old myself, the reports of Ismail dying aged 13 without a parent at his bedside made me weep.”