BORIS Johnson is expected to set out the next phase of the nationwide coronavirus lockdown this week – and he could let Brits meet their friends and family in limited ‘bubbles’.
It is understood that officials are looking at easing some of the lockdown restrictions and allowing small groups of people to socialise – but No10 has warned some measures could get tougher.
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Bubbles could be small groups of ten people from one or two households.
The official review of the lockdown isn’t due until May 7 but the Prime Minister is expected to detail how “phase two” of the lockdown could work by the end of this week.
First steps towards easing the restrictions are expected to include helping workplaces enforce social distancing and ensure staff can wash their hands regularly.
Shops selling ‘non-essential items’ could reopen, if they can keep customers more than two metres apart.
Football matches could be allowed to continue behind closed doors, while there are likely to be tougher restrictions on people travelling into the UK from abroad, potentially including a 14-day quarantine period.
A new system for socialising could allow close family members to meet for meals, while couples who don’t live together could be allowed to see each other.
Brits would potentially nominate a list of people they want to be able to see, drawn from no more than one or two households.
Currently the UK rules state that people should not meet up with anyone they do not live with.
And people continue to be urged to stay inside and only go out for essentials such as food shopping or daily exercise.
The Prime Minister, who yesterday returned to work after recovering from Covid-19, vowed to give Brits more information about how the Government will tackle the “second phase” of the fight against the virus.
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Britain entered the coronavirus lockdown on March 24, and some European nations are beginning to ease measures.
The Government says five key tests – including slashing the number of cases and securing regular supplies of PPE – need to be met before significant easing takes place, some say.
And yesterday, Britain’s Chief Medical Officer warned there’s a “very long way to go” in the coronavirus crisis.
Professor Chris Whitty also said he expects many more deaths from the killer bug.
The news comes as the nation appears to be tiring of lockdown.
As temperatures soared at the weekend, people headed to parks and beaches to make the most of the sunshine.
There were also long queues at B&Q after the DIY store opened last week, while roads which were empty at the beginning of lockdown are now beginning to get busier again.
Ken Marsh, chair of the Met Police Federation, says the Government should “get a grip” over confusing rules.
Coronavirus deaths in the UK have passed 21,000 after another 360 lost their lives in the lowest daily death toll in four weeks.
Positive cases have also risen by 4,310 to 157,149 as Britain enters its sixth week of drastic lockdown measures.
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