UK sets to ease COVID-19 lockdown in England, Scotland

The United Kingdom says the coronavirus lockdown will be eased in England next Monday having met the government’s five tests put in place to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Addressing the daily Downing Street press conference, Prime Minister of UK, Boris Johnson, said groups of six people from different households will be now able to meet outdoors, including in private gardens, as long as they maintain social distancing.

He also added that schools will partially reopen and some non-essential shops will start trading, Johnson however, added that the changes would be limited.

He said: “I cannot and will not throw away all the gains we’ve made together and so the changes we’re making are limited and cautious. It’s thanks to the caution you’ve shown so far that all five met are being met.

He warned that the government would “put on the brakes” if infections begin to increase again.

Earlier on Thursday, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, announced that the first “cautious” steps out of the lockdown would begin in Scotland on Friday.

People will now be allowed sunbathe in parks and play some outdoor sports, bringing the rules in line with England, where restrictions were eased slightly earlier in May.

 

Scots will also be allowed to meet people from other households outdoors in parks and gardens – though people are advised to keep any gatherings to a maximum of eight people.

Ahead of the PM’s announcement, a Downing Street spokesperson said he had consulted with the leaders of the devolved nations.

The spokesperson said: “The PM made clear that as we begin to move to the next phase of tackling this virus, he remains determined to work closely with the devolved administrations.

He also stressed the importance of particularly close engagement on programmes that must be UK-wide to be most effective. This includes contact tracing, where coordinated systems across the UK will be critical to the next phase of our efforts.

 

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