The two-metre rule is highly likely to be dropped as Boris Johnson significantly relaxes the lockdown over the next two weeks.
It comes as it was announced yesterday the coronavirus alert level has dropped from four to three.
A government source revealed last night scientific advisers were now ‘totally comfortable’ with slashing the two-metre rule in half to one metre, as long as there are other precautions are in place.
These could include making sure buildings are properly ventilated, greater use of masks or the installation of screens where people might be too close together, reports MailOnline.
Mr Johnson has already announced a review into the controversial guidance in the face of mounting pressure from pub, hotel and restaurant chains and his own backbench MPs.
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When asked yesterday if the two-metre rule would be eased in schools, the Prime Minister told the public to ‘watch this space’.
The dropping of this measure is one of several the Prime Minister is expected to announce over the next two weeks to get the economy moving again and get the country to a ‘new normal’.
The indication the rules could be abolished came as the UK’s four chief medical officers announced they would be lowering the virus alert level from four to three following a dramatic reduction in new infections, hospital admissions and deaths.
Chief medical officers for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have said transmission is no longer ‘high or rising exponentially’ but warned that it does not mean that the pandemic is over ‘and localised outbreaks are likely to occur’.
The Joint Biosecurity Centre recommended the alert level be reduced, meaning the epidemic is in general circulation but the chances of it spreading are low.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed it a ‘big moment’ for the UK, and claimed that it showed the ‘Government’s plan is working’.
He said: ‘The UK moving to a lower alert level is a big moment for the country, and a real testament to the British people’s determination to beat this virus.
What is the Covid Alert Levels system and what does the downgrade mean?
The Covid Alert Levels system was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his televised address to the nation on May 10.
He said he was establishing the Joint Biosecurity Centre to run the alert system, which is similar to that used to establish the terrorist threat.
It has five tiers from level one to five based on the spread of Covid-19 through the country.
Level five means transmission is high or rising and there is a risk healthcare services will be overwhelmed.
Level one means coronavirus is no longer known to be in the UK.
Level three is when the epidemic is in general circulation and gradual easing of restrictions can take place, while level two is when the number of cases and transmission is low and ‘no or minimal’ restrictions are required.
The easing of lockdown measures in England at the beginning of June caused concern as the Covid-19 alert level remained at level four – which the government previously said would mean restrictions remaining in place.
‘The Government’s plan is working. Infection rates are rapidly falling, we have protected the NHS and, thanks to the hard work of millions in our health and social care services, we are getting the country back on her feet.’
England’s Professor Chris Whitty, Northern Ireland’s Dr Michael McBride, Scotland’s Dr Gregor Smith and Wales’ Dr Chris Jones agreed with the JBC’s recommendation.
In a joint statement, they said: ‘The CMOs for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have reviewed the evidence and agree with this recommendation to move to Level 3 across the UK.
‘There has been a steady decrease in cases we have seen in all four nations, and this continues. It does not mean that the pandemic is over. The virus is still in general circulation, and localised outbreaks are likely to occur.’
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