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UK in ‘very strong position’ to move forward with Covid restriction easing, says Oxford vaccine boss

·2-min read
 (PA)
(PA)

The UK is in a “very strong position” to move forward with the easing of Covid restrictions which will enable people to “try and get back to normal,” Professor John Bell has said.

Oxford University’s regius professor of medicine told Good Morning Britain the prospect of people being able to hug their loved ones again was “great”.

Boris Johnson is on Monday afternoon expected to announce that England can proceed with its next phase of unlocking, on Monday May 17.

The milestone will also see the return of indoor socialising and overseas travel to green list countries. A return to indoor pubs, cinemas and sports is also on the cards and this time without any 10pm curfews.

Asked about the next phase of the Government’s road map, Prof Bell said: “I think we’ll still probably go steady but perhaps a bit faster, I’ll be interested to see what the Government announces.

“I’m feeling pretty comfortable with where we are at the moment.”

It comes despite Michael Gove admitting he is “genuinely worried” about the India Covid variant after cases were found in Bolton.

PA Media
PA Media

As summer approaches, the Government has pledged to look at easing restrictions on outdoor gatherings up to a legal limit of 30 people.

Mr Johnson is likely to say people are free to meet friends and family in parks, gardens and other outdoor areas.

Pub-goers will also be free to meet for a pint without having to buy a substantial meal, but they must order, eat and drink while seated to avoid queues at the bar.

The Government’s road map advises people to “decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances” when arranging to meet.

Mandatory face coverings in public places and the two-metre rule will be included in the Government’s review of longer-term social-distancing policies.

The working from home message may also be scrapped and is expected before the following phase easing on June 21.

In addition to funerals, up to 30 people will be able to join together to celebrate weddings, receptions, wakes and religious ceremonies like bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Britons will be allowed to travel to green list countries without having to quarantine, providing they take a post-arrival home test.

Portugal, Gibraltar, Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Singapore, Brunei, and the Faroe Islands, plus several small remote islands which are British Overseas Territories, are currently on this list.

Read More

The return of hugging? I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready

PM’s Covid roadmap: What are the plans for seeing friends and family?

Lockdown roadmap: A guide to Covid restrictions from May 17

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