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Lockdown easing to see groups of six people allowed to meet outside in England from Monday

Lockdown easing to see groups of six people allowed to meet outside in England from Monday

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that from Monday, groups of up to six people will be able to meet outside together in England.

When meeting, people from different households should remain two metres apart, the Prime Minister said. People will be allowed to meet in gardens and other outdoor spaces, but people should not be inside other people's homes unless it is to access their garden, Mr Johnson said.

Those people in the 'extremely clinically vulnerable' category who have been asked to shield themselves should continue to do so, but other people, including people who have been identified as 'clinically vulnerable' such as over 70s, will now be able to meet multiple members of their families and friends outside for the first time.

Previously, guidelines stated that only 1 person could meet 1 person from another household outside, maintaining social distancing.

Mr Johnson made the announcement during Thursday's Coronavirus briefing from Downing Street, in which he also confirmed that primary schools and nurseries will be able to start to reopen for some pupils from Monday. The easing of lockdown measures comes as the Prime Minister has said that the government's five tests for lifting lockdown measures have been met. These tests include ensuring there has been a sustained fall in daily death rates from COVID-19 and that any further spike in virus cases would not overwhelm the NHS.

The R rate of the virus has also gone down. Last Friday, the rate was believed to be 0.7-1 - now it is believed to be 0.7-0.9.

While the government has said significant progress has been made, they have said the changes to lockdown measures being made are "cautious" changes. Boris Johnson said that different parts of the UK are moving at different speeds and we "cannot and will not" throw away the gains made so far. He also reiterated that there may be local responses to the virus pandemic, as well as the overall national response.

Boris Johnson said the changes to the lockdown "mean friends and family can start to meet their loved ones." The easing of lockdown measures announced on Thursday apply to England - they do not yet apply to the other devolved nations of the United Kingdom. The results from the review of lockdown measures in the other nations are yet to be announced.

37,837 people have died with COVID-19 in the UK so far - an increase of 377 deaths in the most recent 24 hours of data.

 

Photo Credit: Pippa Fowles / No 10 Downing Street under licence (CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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