England will take its next tentative step out of lockdown next week, with indoor hospitality and household mixing set to return from Monday.
Aided by one of the fastest vaccine rollouts in the world, Britain’s daily case and death numbers have dropped sharply, with just two fatalities reported on Sunday.
As a result, “it does look as if the roadmap is on course,” said junior minister Nadine Dorries, meaning that people will be able to return to restaurants, pubs, cinemas and other indoor hospital venues – though social distancing restrictions will still remain in place.
People should also be able to meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors, while six people or two households can meet indoors. The government is also expected to say whether the rules around social distancing with friends and family can ease, prompting headlines about “cautious hugging”.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has said No 10 wants to see “friendly contact” between people restored.
Prime minister Boris Johnson will hold a press conference later on Monday about how the country will move into the next phase of reopening from lockdown
However, Ms Dorries, the minister for mental health, said the government needed to be careful that society did not reopen too quickly however because coronavirus variants have been circulating at a low level in the population.
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