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People in England will be allowed to hug loved ones from 17 May, Michael Gove confirms

After a year of restrictive social distancing rules, Mr Gove said Boris Johnson is planning to announce tomorrow that intimate contact will be permitted from 17 May

People in England will be allowed to hug their loved ones from 17 May as lockdown restrictions in the country continue to be eased, Michael Gove has confirmed.

After a year of restrictive social distancing rules due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Cabinet Office minister said Boris Johnson is planning to allow intimate contact from 17 May.

The news will be of great relief to millions across England who have not been able to hug friends and family members for more than a year.

Asked on The Andrew Marr Show whether restrictions on touching and close contact would be lifted in the coming week, Mr Gove replied “yes”.

“All being well the Prime Minister will confirm tomorrow that there will be a relaxation […] as we move into stage three of our roadmap it will be the case that we will see people capable of meeting indoors,” he said.

“And without prejudice to a broader review of social distancing, it is also the case that friendly contact, intimate contact, between friends and family is something we want to see restored.”

Asked whether mask wearing in schools could also be scrapped, he said the evidence on this is being reviewed.

When the Prime Minister outlined his roadmap for lifting lockdown, back in February, he said that from 17 May it was hoped that most social contact rules would be lifted outdoors.

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Indoors, the rule of six or two households is expected to remain in place.

The Telegraph reported that Mr Johnson will say everyone should use their “personal judgement” and “common sense” when it comes to hugging friends and family.

The newspaper said the Prime Minister would also confirm that care home residents in England can go on low-risk trips without having to self-isolate when they return.

The head of the Oxford University vaccine group said he believed it is the right time to ease further restrictions in England.

Professor Andrew Pollard was asked on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show whether it would be safe for family and friends to hug on May 17, when England is set to move to stage three of the road map out of the coronavirus lockdown.

He said the country has seen the “extraordinary success” of both the vaccination programme and the “prolonged” lockdown.

“I think it is time to start, based on the very careful modelling that’s been done, relaxing some of those restrictions,” he said.

“That means we’re in a very fortunate position here in the UK.”

Read More

What is the roadmap out of lockdown? All we know about when Covid restrictions end and how rules will ease

People in England will be allowed to hug their loved ones from next week as lockdown restrictions in the country continue to be eased, Michael Gove has confirmed.

After months of restrictive social distancing rules due to the covid-19 pandemic, the Cabinet Office minister said Boris Johnson is planning to allow intimate contact from 17 May.

The news will be of great relief to millions across England who have not been able to hug friends and family members for more than a year.

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Asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show whether restrictions on touching and close contact would be lifted in the coming week, Mr Gove replied “yes”.

“All being well the Prime Minister will confirm tomorrow that there will be a relaxation […] as we move into stage three of our roadmap it will be the case that we will see people capable of meeting indoors,” he said.

“And without prejudice to a broader review of social distancing, it is also the case that friendly contact, intimate contact, between friends and family is something we want to see restored.”

Asked whether mask wearing in schools could also be scrapped, he said the evidence on this is being reviewed.

When the Prime Minister outlined his roadmap for lifting lockdown, back in February, he said that from 17 May it was hoped that most social contact rules would be lifted outdoors.

Indoors, the rule of six or two households is expected to remain in place.

The Telegraph reported that Mr Johnson will say everyone should use their “personal judgement” and “common sense” when it comes to hugging friends and family.

The newspaper said the Prime Minister would also confirm that care home residents in England can go on low-risk trips without having to self-isolate when they return.

The head of the Oxford University vaccine group said he believed it is the right time to ease further restrictions in England.

Professor Andrew Pollard was asked on Marr whether it would be safe for family and friends to hug and he said the country has seen the “extraordinary success” of both the vaccination programme and the “prolonged” lockdown.

“I think it is time to start, based on the very careful modelling that’s been done, relaxing some of those restrictions,” he said.

“That means we’re in a very fortunate position here in the UK.”

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