UK ministers have cautioned that it is still too soon to begin lifting the coronavirus lockdown with suggestions the peak of the outbreak could come within the next week or so.

Yesterday, the number of recorded deaths across the UK was 6,159 deaths, up 786. This was the largest daily rise but the rate of increase in confirmed cases seems to be levelling off.

Sir Patrick Valance, the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, suggested at the daily Downing St briefing that the lockdown measures appeared to be having an effect with the daily rise in cases at 3,634 was much lower than the high mark so far of 5,903 on Sunday.

He suggested the figures "could be moving in the right direction" but made clear the authorities needed another "week or so" before they could be sure.

Dominic Raab, the Foreign Secretary, standing in for Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister recuperates in hospital, echoed Sir Patrick’s caution, stressing “taking our foot off the pedal,” was the worst thing the country could do right now.

A three-week review of the lockdown, due on Monday, has now been pushed back to an unspecified date in order to view a much wider perspective on how the outbreak is developing.

Asked about lifting lockdown measures, Edward Argar, the UK Health Minister, said: "We need to start seeing the numbers coming down and that's when you're in the negative. That's when you have a sense when that's sustained over a period of time, that you can see it coming out of that.

"We're not there yet and I don't exactly know when we will be. The scientists will tell us that they are constantly modelling the data and they're constantly looking at those stats.

"We should also remember there is always a lag of a couple of weeks in the hospitalisation and death rate data behind the actions that we've taken to try to slow it down, because that's the nature of the disease," he told BBC Breakfast.

Meanwhile, Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor, insisted the UK capital, the epicentre of the outbreak, was "nowhere near" being able to lift the current lockdown restrictions.

He said: "When the Prime Minister announced the lockdown just over two-and-a-half weeks ago he said he would review it in three weeks' time which is this Monday. We're nowhere near lifting the lockdown. I speak to experts regularly, in fact after this[interview] I'll have another call with Public Health England and NHS London experts.

"The peak - which is the worst part of the virus - is still probably a week-and -a-half away," he added.

Speaking during a virtual international press conference, Dr Hans Kluge, the World Health Organisation’s Regional Director for Europe, said coronavirus cases on the continent represented half of the total across the world and warned against lifting any restrictions just yet.

"Now is not the time to relax measures. It is, once again, the time to double or triple collective efforts with the support of society," he declared.

"To think we are coming close to an end point is a dangerous thing to do. The virus leaves no room for complacency. Relaxing lockdown measures requires careful consideration."

Dr Kluge stressed the upcoming Easter weekend was "not the time" to relax restrictions, despite the promise of good weather across much of Europe.

"This is not the time to lower our guard. We must soldier on. We are in this together and we will get through this together," he added.

Mr Johnson has spent his third night in hospital, the second in intensive care. He is said to be “stable” and “in good spirits”. However, experts have suggested the longer someone stays in intensive care, the likelier it is that the recovery period will last longer. This could mean the PM will not return to frontline duties for several days and possibly weeks.

Asked about Mr Johnson, Mr Argar told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: "The latest information, as Downing Street set out, I understand the Prime Minister is in a stable condition.

"He's comfortable and in good spirits. Although he had oxygen when he was admitted, he hasn't needed mechanical ventilation.

"And, judging by the emails I'm getting from around the country and indeed right across the political spectrum, the message is everybody sends him and Carrie[his partner] their very best wishes and wishes him a very full and very speedy recovery."

Elsewhere, the first of the NHS Nightingale hospitals, at London's ExCel centre, received its first patients on Tuesday.

The Nightingale was built to boost treatment capacity in London but officials stressed limits have not yet been reached at other sites across the capital.

An NHS Nightingale London spokeswoman said: "There is also treatment capacity available in other hospitals across London to complement the care being provided at the London Nightingale."

The admissions come just two weeks after the temporary hospital with a planned capacity of 4,000 was formally announced, but later than had initially been expected.

Mr Khan explained London now had the capacity it needed to deal with the epidemic.

"At the moment we've still got 25 per cent, about there, capacity within the NHS[in London] before we even go to Nightingale, so it demonstrates the can-do attitude of not just Londoners but those around the country who have helped us get ready for the peak of this virus." he said.

In Washington, Trump claimed last night the UK had called the US with an urgent plea for 200 ventilators as ministers try to boost capacity for the sickest of patients.

The US President said: "We're going to work it out, we've got to work it out. They've been great partners. They wanted 200, they need them desperately."

In another development at the No 10 press conference yesterday, Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England, admitted the UK needed to learn from the example of Germany where the number of deaths appeared to be growing more slowly.

"We all know that Germany got ahead in terms of its ability to do testing for the virus and there's a lot to learn from that and we've been trying to learn the lessons from that," he said.