BRITAIN is “not done yet” with the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, Dominic Raab insisted, as he urged people to “stay the course” and resist the temptation to socialise during the long Easter weekend.

The plea by the Foreign Secretary, who is standing in for Boris Johnson as he recuperates in intensive care, came as the daily number of hospital deaths across the UK was 881, bringing the total to 7,978. But this number does not include the virus deaths in the community or in care homes.

The expectation is that the rising death toll will continue for around a fortnight until the intensive care numbers improve.

At the daily Downing St press conference, Mr Raab gave an update on the Prime Minister’s condition, saying he “continues to make positive steps” and remained in “good spirits”.

But later No10 announced Mr Johnson, as he prepared to spend a fifth night at London's St Thomas's Hospital, had been moved earlier in the evening from the intensive care unit back to an ordinary ward, where he would receive close monitoring during what it described as the "early phase of his recovery". It added: "He is in extremely good spirits."

At the press briefing, Mr Raab made clear it was still "too early" to lift the lockdown restrictions in place across the UK.

"It's been almost three weeks and we're starting to see the impact of the sacrifices we've all made. But the deaths are still rising and we haven't yet reached the peak of the virus. So, it's still too early to lift the measures that we put in place.

"We must stick to the plan and we must continue to be guided by the science."

In a direct appeal to the public, the Foreign Secretary said: “Let's not undo the gains we've made, let's not waste the sacrifices so many people have made. We mustn't give the coronavirus a second chance to kill more people and to hurt our country.

“I know it’s tough going but this is a team effort and we will only defeat this virus for good if we all stay the course. So, please stay home this bank holiday weekend for everyone’s sake.”

Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, also stressed that it was important to continue with the restrictions in place because they were making a “big difference”.

He said: "The message is clear which is the social distancing we're doing is breaking transmission, it's stopping the hospital admissions, beginning to see that flattening off, still unbelievably busy but beginning to see that flatten off, it's preventing more people going into intensive care and it will prevent deaths."

Professor Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, pointed out how the doubling of intensive care numbers had been every three days but was now slowing to six or more days.

“That has only happened because of what everybody has done in terms of staying at home and only going out for work, exercise, critical shopping and medical care,” he explained.

Earlier, Mr Raab chaired a virtual meeting of Whitehall’s emergency committee Cobra, attended by, among others, Nicola Sturgeon and Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor. It discussed scientific and medical data relating to the lockdown. A formal update, promised three weeks after the start of the lockdown, will be given next week.

But the First Minister was clear an immediate or imminent lifting of restrictions was not on the cards, suggesting the lockdown would last “for some weeks to come yet”.

In an online First Minister’s Questions with other Holyrood leaders, she made clear she did not want the lockdown to last “a single minute longer” than necessary but nor did she want to “see the virus spiral out of control, see our NHS overwhelmed, and see more lives lost”.

Ms Sturgeon revealed the daily number of coronavirus deaths in Scotland had risen by a record 81, taking the total to 447. The total number of people tested positive for Covid-19 was 4,957, up 392.

In exchanges, Jackson Carlaw, the Scottish Conservative leader, said the adequacy and supply of Personal Protective Equipment was a continued source of concern across Scotland.

He said: “For several weeks we’ve been told the supplies are adequate but the problem is with distribution. Will you use logistics experts or even our armed forces if it becomes necessary as they’ve helped elsewhere?”

Ms Sturgeon replied the issue of PPE was of paramount importance but insisted there were adequate supplies and the Scottish Government had been working hard to resolve the concerns people had and was addressing “glitches” were they arose.

“We have army logistics support based in this building in St Andrew’s House helping us with many of these issues and I’m deeply grateful to them for that. So, we will draw on support, logistics and otherwise, when we need it, wherever we need it from,” added the FM.

UK armed forces have already helped with the response to the Covid-19 epidemic, including the creation of the overflow NHS Louisa Jordan hospital at the SEC in Glasgow.

Last night, following a meeting between Mr Raab and Westminster party leaders, Ian Blackford echoed the call for people to stay at home this Easter to save lives.

But the Highland MP also stressed: “We must ensure no one is left behind as we deal with this unprecedented emergency.

"Alongside the health response, I pressed for action to fix the serious gaps in financial support. The SNP has consistently called for a comprehensive package including a guaranteed minimum income, strengthened welfare protections, urgent access to cash for businesses, and increased NHS and Social Care funding. While UK Government initiatives have been welcome, some haven't gone far enough,” he added.

In a separate development, the Home Office came under fire after it emerged some Passport Office staff had been asked to return to work. It was reported they were told that 80 per cent of the population would get infected by coronavirus and “we cannot hide away from it forever”.

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the PCS union said: “It is absolutely scandalous that Her Majesty’s Passport Office are suggesting our members can go back into work during a pandemic to process routine passports.”

He added: “The cavalier approach to our members’ health and safety is shameful and ultimately puts them in greater danger of contracting Covid-19.”

In other developments:

*Therese Coffey, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said around 1.2 million people had made claims for Universal Credit in the last three weeks amid the coronavirus outbreak with new claims falling to just under 40,000 a day compared to an pre-crisis average of around 12,000 a day;

*the Queen has described how dedication to the "service of others" has been the cornerstone of her life, in a letter to community stalwarts who she would have presented with symbolic Maundy money but who instead received the gift by post after the event was cancelled due to the outbreak;

*Greggs, the pie and pasty outlet, has secured £150 million from the Treasury and the Bank of England's emergency coronavirus fund after closing stores;

*US-based Thermo Fisher Scientific said it could help get the UK to its 100,000 swab tests per day target by the end of the month;

*Fayaz Ayache, a dedicated GP from Suffolk, who "felt it was his duty to help" people, has died in Ipswich Hospital aged 76 after testing positive for coronavirus;

*Unison, the public sector union, said thousands of people working in the NHS, social care and local services had revealed anxiety at the lack of gloves, masks, eye protectors and gowns where they work;

*Local Government Association in England called on the Government to deliver Personal Protective Equipment to councils with the "utmost urgency";

*Drugs giant AstraZeneca says it aims to deliver a validated Covid-19 antibody test by the beginning of May that could be scaled up by the end of that month and

*BBC said it was "still hoping the Proms will be part of the summer this year" but explained the festival would be adapted and changed from the one originally planned.