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Coronavirus: What is the new 'rule of six'?

Coronavirus: What is the new 'rule of six'?

Boris Johnson has urged people to limit social contact as much as possible, following significant rises in COVID-19 cases in the UK.

On Wednesday, the UK Prime Minister announced a new set of measures designed for "simplifying and strengthening the rules" and "making them easier for everyone to understand".

Mr Johnson confirmed that from next Monday, new regulations will ban gatherings larger than six people in any indoor or outdoor setting. Johnson said that "it breaks my heart" to bring in the restrictions, which mean that two whole families can no longer meet in some circumstances, though he said he had a responsibility as Prime Minister to bring in measures to protect the public from the virus pandemic. 

The PM also announced on Wednesday that work was being done to increase testing capacity to 500,000 tests a day. Over the last week, there have been reports of some people being told to travel hundreds of miles in order to get tested, due to a shortage of tests in some areas.

Other announcements saw it revealed that social premises will now legally have to request information from customers to support NHS Test & Trace, and that the enforcement of existing rules, including quarantine restrictions and social distancing in town and city centres will be stepped up.


What is the 'rule of six'?

From Monday, gatherings of more than six people in England will be banned. Being part of a gathering of more than six people will be made illegal and those ignoring the rules could be dispersed, fined and possibly arrested by police.

The rules apply in all indoor and outdoor settings in England, though some exemptions apply, such as in education, work and sport settings. Weddings and funerals will also be allowed to take place with up to 30 people present, provided COVID-secure guidelines are met.

Example: Family A consists of 4 people and Family B also consists of 4 people. The people from Family A & B will no longer all be allowed to meet at the same time, as only 6 can be part of a gathering.

Gatherings will still be allowed where the individual household or support bubble is larger than six people, but people from outside the bubble should not gather with these people (beyond a gathering of 6).

It is also important to note that different rules apply in other nations of the United Kingdom.


Why are the new rules coming into place?

The announcement of the new rules comes following a significant rise in Coronavirus cases in the UK, prompting increased fears of a 'second wave'.

In many recent days, the daily number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the UK has been near 3,000.

Also, Boris Johnson has said he wanted to simplify the rules and that it was aimed at 'making them easier for everyone to understand'.


How will the 'rule of six' and other new measures be enforced?

The government has said that marshalls will be drafted in to help ensure people maintain social distancing in areas that are typical for gatherings or busy scenes, including towns and city centres. In some areas, police may also step up enforcement efforts.

UK Border Force is also to step up its enforcement of quarantine rules for people arriving into the country from destinations not included in the travel corridors list. 


What is the government's new advertising campaign?

A public information campaign has been launched and will urge the public to continue to wash their hands, cover their face and make space (social distance) in order to help control the Coronavirus infection rates.

The campaign is based on the slogan of 'Hands. Face. Space.' which had been previously announced.

The information campaign is to run across many different media platforms, as well as on TV and radio.