UK's Johnson could ease lockdown before May 7 deadline: The Telegraph

FILE PHOTO: Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference on the ongoing situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain March 22, 2020. Ian Vogler/Pool via REUTERS

(Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce plans for easing a month-old coronavirus lockdown as early as this week after he returned to Downing Street on Sunday night, the Telegraph reported.

Johnson is due to be back at work on Monday after spending a week in hospital with COVID-19 and two weeks recovering at his country residence.

Johnson has discussed with ministers the idea of "modifying" the lockdown rather than lifting it, to get across the message that restrictions will remain in place even if workplaces and schools start to reopen, the Telegraph said late on Sunday.

The official number of deaths related to COVID-19 in hospitals across the United Kingdom rose to 20,732, up by 413 in 24 hours, while confirmed cases stood at 152,840, up by 4,463.

Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by Daniel Wallis