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Boris Johnson says people can meet in bubbles of six after UK passes five tests

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced people are allowed to meet outside in groups of six as lockdown measures are eased further.

He says people in England are allowed to meet in ‘bubbles’ of six from different households – as long as it is outdoors and maintaining a two-metre social distance. Meeting in private outdoor spaces is allowed.

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It comes after he confirmed the UK is meeting the five tests the government has set out to ensure there will be no second peak of coronavirus.

The PM announced at this afternoon’s press conference: ‘I know the toll the lockdown has taken on families and friends who have been unable to see each other.

‘So from Monday, we will allow up to six people to meet outside, provided those from different households continue strictly to observe social distancing rules by staying two metres apart.

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‘At the moment, as you know, people can meet in parks but not in private gardens and this was a cautious first step. But we know that there is no difference in the health risk.

‘So we will now allow people to meet in gardens and other private outdoor spaces. 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.

‘And I know for many people this will be a long-awaited and joyful moment. But I must stress that to control the virus everyone needs to stay alert, act responsibly, strictly observe social distancing rules and stay two metres apart from those you do not live with.’

People enjoy the hot weather in Greenwich Park
People may now meet outside in groups of up to six, as long as they are maintaining a social distance (Picture: Reuters)

It was clarified people are allowed to pass through the house to access the garden and also use the toilet, but he urged the public to exercise ‘common sense’.

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Chief medical officer Chris Whitty warned people should make sure they are washing their hands, wiping everything down and staying aware that if food is shared the virus could be transmitted that way.

He added: ‘Minimising contact with others is still the best way to avoid transmission.

‘You should also avoid seeing people from too many households in quick succession so we can avoid the risk of quick transmission from lots of different families and continue to control the virus.

‘It remains the case that people should not be inside the homes of their friends and families.

‘Crucially, we know that transmission of the virus is far lower outdoors so we can confidently allow more interaction outside. I understand that people will have questions as to how to do all of this safely and we will publish guidance on these changes to help people, to help you, make the most of them.

People relax during hot weather near Tower Bridge in London
The Prime Minister has urged the public to exercise common sense (Picture: Reuters)

‘I know inevitably that there may be some anomalies or apparent inconsistencies in these rules and clearly what we are proposing is still just a fraction of the social interaction each of us would normally enjoy.

‘I know many of you will find this frustrating and I’m sorry about that. But I’m afraid that is unavoidable, given the nature of the invisible enemy that we are fighting. It’s a complex problem and we’re asking for everyone’s patience as we work through it together.’

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Mr Johnson also confirmed the country has now passed the five tests the government set out in order to allow England to move to the next stage of easing lockdown.

He added: ‘It’s thanks to the caution we have shown so far that all five tests are being met.

‘That’s not my achievement or the government’s achievement, it is your achievement. It’s only possible thanks to your resolve and dedication to our national purpose to overcome this virus.

‘So the result is we can move forward with adjusting the lockdown in England on Monday.’

The PM also announced primary schools will definitely be reopening from Monday to certain year groups, and added certain secondary school year groups will be returning a fortnight later on June 15.

Outdoor retail and car showrooms will reopen from Monday, with other non-essential retail from June 15. It is thought pubs and restaurants could start to reopen as early as next month.

The PM further noted how the four nations of the UK are moving at different speeds of easing, as the situation is slightly different in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Nicola Sturgeon announced Scotland’s next stages of easing lockdown this afternoon.

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Source: Metro News UK

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