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UK ready for cuddles, indoor meals as COVID relaxes further

Restrictions are to be relaxed according to the government’s plan as vaccinations reduce cases.

England will move forward with plans to further ease COVID-19 restrictions on May 17, including allowing people to kiss and meet indoors, thanks to favorable data on infections and vaccines, the government said on Sunday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold a press conference on Monday afternoon to announce details of the third step of the UK’s ‘roadmap’ to emerge from the crisis, following discussions with colleagues and advisers in the morning.

“The data reflects what we already knew – we are not going to let this virus beat us,” Johnson said, according to a statement from Downing Street.

‘The roadmap remains on track, our successful vaccination program continues – over two-thirds of adults in the UK have now received the first vaccine – and we can now expect to release it cautiously but in a manner irreversible.”

The country is gradually lifting its latest lockdown over a period of several months, in accordance with a four-step plan unveiled in February.

It took his first step out of the lockout in April when hairdressers and shops reopened, and people were allowed to dine out in small groups.

As part of the next step, meals and drinks indoors in pubs, cafes and restaurants will also be allowed, subject to certain rules, while family and friends may meet indoors for the day. first time in a month – in groups of up to six. people or two complete households together.

Johnson is also expected to say that people can kiss friends and family outside of their homes for the first time in more than a year, according to the Times newspaper.

Test events have been organized to help guide the organization of post-pandemic events [Paul Ellis/AFP]

Cinemas and theaters will also reopen, along with other large indoor venues after the government held several pilot events to test security measures. The hotels will also be able to accommodate guests.

The UK announced a total of 1,770 new coronavirus cases and two deaths on Sunday, well below the highs seen in January.

More than 127,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the UK, the highest toll in Europe.

Downing Street said the latest data on COVID-19 vaccinations, infections, hospitalizations and deaths, and on the risk posed by new variants had been taken into account in deciding to proceed.

The semi-autonomous administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own separate timetables for easing restrictions on coronaviruses.

The British government had already confirmed last week that international travel would be allowed to resume on May 17, but severe restrictions will remain in place for all but a handful of countries.




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