Britain starts going out of lockdown

England starts today to slowly go out of lockdown with people allowed to meet up outside in groups of six for the first time in nearly three months, news wires reported. At the same time PM Boris Johnson urged caution due to rising coronavirus cases in Europe. Britain entered its third national lockdown on 4 January.

Johnson insisted he plans to proceed with a “cautious and irreversible” route out of restrictions, underpinned by a quick rollout of Covid-19 vaccines. That contrasts with much of Europe, with Germany and France among countries contending with a third wave of Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations.

Johnson has also warned that coronavirus variants pose a risk to Britain’s vaccine rollout, which is the fourth fastest in the world after Israel, United Arab Emirates and Chile. “We must remain cautious, with cases rising across Europe and new variants threatening our vaccine rollout,” Johnson said. “Despite today’s easements, everyone must continue to stick to the rules, remember hands, face, space, and come forward for a vaccine when called.”

Under the rules from Monday, up to six people, or two households, can meet outside whilst outdoor sporting facilities such as swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts can be used with social contact limits in place. More substantial changes, including the re-opening of non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality settings, will take place after 12 April at the earliest, with indoor entertainment venues shut until at least 17 May.

With relatively stringent rules still in place, a new public information campaign showing how fresh air reduces the risk of transmission will run from Monday as part of efforts to remind people not to go indoors as they socialise.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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