Boris Johnson Announces Measures To Ease Lockdown
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Speaking during Thursday's government briefing, the PM declared the country had made 'significant progress' in the battle against covid-19, with a 'sustained and consistent' fall in the daily death rate - indicating that the virus, which has claimed almost 38,000 UK lives, is past its peak.
From next Monday, groups of up to six people will be allowed to meet in outdoor spaces - including private gardens - provided those from different households observe the 2m social distancing rules.
The new lockdown measures will also see nurseries and some primary school classes reopen on Monday 1st June, along with outdoor retailers (such as markets) and car showrooms.
And from 15th June, secondary schools will begin to provide 'some face-to-face contact time' for Years 10 and 12 along with other non-essential retailers, provided the shops have been made 'covid-secure'.
"These changes mean that friends and family can start to meet their loved ones, perhaps seeing both parents at once or both grandparents at once," Boris explained. "And I know that for many people this will be a long-awaited and joyful moment."
He stressed the importance of observing strict social distancing rules, and staying 2m apart from those you do not live with in order to minimise contact with others.
People should also avoid mixing with two different households "in quick succession" to avoid the risk of transmission.
The government is now 'confident' that reopening schools, retail and social context will not risk a second peak of infections, Boris added.
It comes two months after England entered a strict lockdown, which saw pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops closed for business - threatening financial ruin for many businesses and families.
To date, 37,837 people have died from coronavirus in the UK, an increase of 377 deaths since yesterday. However, the current death rate is considered 'manageable'.