LOCKDOWN measures are unlikely to be lifted any time soon as we approach the end of the initial three-week period.

Health minister Edward Agar said on Wednesday that it was "not the right moment" to make any changes.

Mr Agar's comments came as the Welsh government confirmed they would extend their lockdown period into next week.

The UK-wide coronavirus lockdown where people were asked to stay at home except to shop for essential items, exercise, help a vulnerable person or go to work began on Monday, March 23.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at the time the measures would be reviewed every three weeks and this period will expire on Easter Monday (April 13).

But emergency laws put before parliament three days after the lockdown was introduced states that a review must take place every 21 days, with the first deadline on April 16.

Mr Agar said: “As the chief scientific adviser said there are some positive signs in terms of the rate of growth of the virus slowing. But we don’t know - the evidence isn’t there yet as to whether we’ve reached the peak.

“The message this weekend, this week, is hugely important. It’s keep staying at home, keep protecting our NHS. By doing that, we will save lives. Now is not the time to let up, now is the time to double down, keep following that advice and sticking with it.”

Meanwhile UK scientists say the coronavirus is "hit and run" and not as well shielded from the immune system as some others - meaning it could be easier to develop a vaccine.

The University of Southampton researchers who made the discovery called it "very encouraging".

Elsewhere, Tesco has said that most food will still need to be purchased in-store amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The supermarket giant said it wasn’t able to meet demand as more shoppers stay at home, despite the fact it has increased its online grocery shopping capacity by more than 20 per cent.

More than nine million workers are expected to be furloughed under the government’s job retention scheme.

That is according to analysis by the Resolution Foundation, using the latest figures on take-up of the scheme from the British Chambers of Commerce.

The cost to the taxpayer over three months is estimated at £30-40bn.

The Bank of France said that the country’s economy shrank by about six per cent in the first three months of 2020, the worst contraction seen since 1945.

Meanwhile Germany experienced its biggest quarterly decline since three-monthly records began in 1970.