“The PM is very concerned about a second peak if we lift the restrictions too soon,” Dowden told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday morning.

Asked if the lockdown would be wound back at the start of next month, as some recent reports suggest, he replied: “We said right at the beginning of this and the Prime Minister said he expected this peak to last around three months.

“What’s happened is kind of consistent with that,” he said.

Dowden’s comments came after multiple reports suggested that schools could reopen as early as mid-May, with other restrictions being lifted in June.