The United Kingdom has extended the lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country by three weeks.

Dominic Raab, UK foreign secretary, who announced the development on Thursday, said there have been indications that social distancing measures in place were “starting to pay off”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced a total lockdown in the country on March 24.

Rabb said the extension followed advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) that “relaxing any of the measures in place” would “undo the progress we have made” and would “risk damage to both public health and the economy”.

“Based on this advice the government has decided the measures must remain in place for at least the next three weeks,” Rabb said.

“We are being as open as we responsibly can at this stage,” he said.

“The government has decided that the current measures must remain in place for at least the next three weeks.

“We’ve come too far, lost too many loved ones and sacrificed too much to let up now – especially when we are now beginning to see that our efforts are paying off.

“The worst thing that we could do now is ease up too soon – and allow a second peak of the virus to hit the NHS and to hit the British people.”

According to Worldometers, the UK has 103,093 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 13,729 deaths.