‘Hugging is back!’ Boris set to relax social distancing rules to allow physical contact

BBC host grills professor on coronavirus lockdowns

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The success of the vaccination programme has seen the spread of the deadly virus seriously curtailed, allowing the Government to push ahead with the next phase of its roadmap out of lockdown. On May 17 people will once again be able to have physical contact with family and friends from other households. They will also be allowed to meet in groups of six indoors and 30 outdoors, as life starts to return to a semblance of normality.

However, the public is being advised to still observe social distancing rules while travelling on public transport or at work.

Similarly, health officials are urging people to avoid coming into close contact with strangers.

A Government source told The Times: “The data is looking very good.

“The scientists say we’re on track for the next stage, unless something changes dramatically.”

Cases of new Covid infections have dropped by an astonishing 40 percent in a week, according to data published by Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Thursday.

The Prime Minister is also set to be advised that social distancing for large events can be scrapped from June 21, after pilot trials showed there were no alarming spikes in new Covid cases.

The news will bring joy to football fans in particular, who should now be able to once again cheer on their teams at their grounds.

The Government has been running a series of tests at sporting events around the UK, as it prepares for further lifting of lockdown restrictions.

Four thousand fans were allowed to attend the FA Cup semi-final between Leicester and Southampton, while 8,000 were allowed to watch the Carabao Cup final between Tottenham and Manchester City at Wembley.


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Furthermore, around 1,000 snooker fans a day have been allowed to watch sessions at the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible theatre.

All participants have had to take both a PCR and a lateral flow test before and after each event, with the results carefully scrutinised by scientists.

The science board on the Events Research Programme, run by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, has found that many of the protective measures put in place are sufficient to stop the spread of the virus.

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