Brits could be hugging friends and family by June, gov scientific adviser hopes

BRITS could be hugging friends and family again by June with social distancing rules scrapped, top experts hope.

Boris Johnson said earlier this week he thinks the data is looking good to "totally" scrap Covid rules by June 21 – and it's hoped social distancing will be included too.

He will keep looking at the information on new cases and make a final decision in the coming weeks.

And it's hoped that the hated social distancing rules will also be able to be put in the bin.

At the moment anyone who doesn't live together is advised to keep at least 1.5metres away from others to stop the spread of the virus.

Dr Mike Tildesley, from the University of Warwick and a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) group, suggested the decision on whether social distancing and whether to bin it will likely be a political call for the PM.

Asked at what stage people will be able to be close to another person if both have been vaccinated, he told Times Radio: "I think this is really difficult because of course, in a sense, this becomes more of a sort of a political decision rather than an epidemiological decision because we have been told that on June 21 all of these legal limits on contact will be removed, but it's still unclear exactly what that means."

It's not entirely clear whether some rules including social distancing may need to stay for months to come to stop the spread of Covid-19.

But a new study today showed that the vaccine slashed the risk of passing the virus on by a half – in a fresh boost that such curbs may be ditched.

Dr Tidsley said:"I think the key thing is that if you're both vaccinated, of course, it does reduce the risk of anyone becoming severely ill and my hope is that as we move towards that June date, we will be in a position that we can not just see our loved ones, but also we can hug our loved ones because it's been a very long time since we've been able to do that.

"We obviously do need to monitor the data as we get to the main relaxation, when you are allowed to go inside people's households, it's really important that we monitor that data and ensure that we don't get a resurgence at that point."

The next unlocking point is May 17, where people in England will be able to go inside others' homes as part of the rule of six.

Restrictions on meeting up outside will also be relaxed, and up to 30 will be able to meet.

Boris' plan warns Brits to maintain social distancing in steps 1 and 2 of easing lockdown but that they may be allowed to make their own decisions on hugging friends and family under step 3 from May 17, according to his February roadmap.

In the roadmap, Brits are told: "It will remain important for people to
consider the risks for themselves, taking into account whether they and those they meet have been vaccinated or are at greater risk."

This means that someone who has been vaccinated might make the decision that they are comfortable hugging a pal who has also already been jabbed.

A government review into social distancing is looking at whether and when it will be safe to lift the rules.

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