LONDON, April 27 (CNA) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday (Apr 27) made his first public appearance in nearly a month after a spell in hospital and several days in intensive care with novel coronavirus.

In a statement outside his Downing Street office, he said Britain was "beginning to turn the tide" in tackling COVID-19 but indicated no immediate lifting of lockdown restrictions.

Johnson said his government would outline plans for an easing of the coronavirus lockdown in the coming days but warned that there would be difficult judgments required.

"We simply cannot spell out now how fast or slow or even when those changes will be made, though clearly the government will be saying much more about this in the coming days," Johnson said.

"I want to serve notice now that these decisions will be taken with the maximum possible transparency and I want to share all our working and our thinking, my thinking, with you the British people. Of course we will be relying as ever on the science to inform us, as we have from the beginning."

He added: "Every day I know that this virus brings new sadness and mourning to households across the land and it is still true that this is the biggest single challenge this country has faced since the war."

Johnson said the country was coming "to the end of the first phase of this conflict".

"We must also recognise the risk of a second spike, the risk of losing control of that virus and letting the reproduction rate go back over one because that would mean not only a new wave of death and disease but also an economic disaster," he said.

Britain has been one of the countries worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of deaths reaching 20,732 in the days before Johnson's return.

The actual toll could be much higher when deaths in the community are taken into account, particularly at care homes.