Prime Minister Boris Johnson tonight told the nation that there would be no immediate end to the coronavirus lockdown.
Mr Johnson made his much anticipated televised address and warned that it would be "madness" to lift too many restrictions too quickly and risk a chaotic second spike of the epidemic.
He rolled out his controversial new slogan, Stay Alert to Control the Virus and Save Lives, which has been heavily criticised in some quarters.
And he set out a "conditional plan" for the next stage of the country's fight against Covid-19.
Delivering a warning about relaxing the lockdown, he said: 'It depends on all of us – the entire country – to follow the advice, to observe the social distancing and to keep that R down'.
He insisted that any small changes to the lockdown will be closely monitored at a local, regional and national level, adding: "If there are outbreaks, if there are problems, we will not hesitate to put on the brakes."
Thanking the nation for the efforts made so far during the crisis, the Prime Minister said: "It is thanks to your effort and sacrifice in stopping the spread of this disease that the death rate is coming down and hospital admissions are coming down.
"Thanks to you we have protected our NHS and saved many thousands of lives."
Warning of a deadly second spike, the PM added: "It would be madness now to throw away that achievement by allowing a second spike’.
"We must stay alert. We must continue to control the virus and save lives."
It is understood that a warning system administered by a new "joint biosecurity centre" will detect local increases in infection rates, with the view to locally alter restrictions in England.
On ending the lockdown Mr Johnson said: 'No, this is not the time simply to end the lockdown this week.
"Instead we are taking the first careful steps to modify our measures."
He set out the first gradual steps changes which will come into force in the country from Wednesday.
This includes more time to spend outside in parks, playing some sports and the ability to travel further afield for walks and exercise.
You can find the full list of what you can do from Wednesday here
He warned that even though some restrictions are being eased, it is vital that social distancing is still carried out and said punishments will be increased for those who flout these rules.
He said: "You must obey the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules we will increase the fines for the small minority who break them."
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The Prime Minister also announced that from tomorrow morning, certain people will be encouraged to go back to work.
You can read more about the new rules around work here
He said: "Anyone who can't work from home, for instance those in construction and manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work'.
"And we want it to be safe for you to get to work. So you should avoid public transport if at all possible, because we must and will maintain social distancing, and capacity will therefore be limited.
"So work from home if you can, but you should go to work if you can't work from home."