Under Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of England’s third coronavirus lockdown, June 21 is the earliest point to “remove all legal limits on social contact”. But the Government’s official guidance previously said ‘hands, face, space’ rules will continues to apply.
An insider has now said the Government will axe guidelines enforcing face masks and social distancing for the summer in most areas.
Scientists are reported to be on board with the proposal to scrap the rules, suggested by the National Economy Recovery Taskforce.
They have discussed a “maximalist” approach to lifting “non-pharmaceutical interventions” like masks and staying apart everywhere except for a small list of confined places.
The Prime Minister is also said to be eyeing up a return to the office, looking to end the work-from-home order.
Experts have warned the Indian variant of Covid could delay the roadmap out of lockdown, after Public Health England identified it as a “variant of concern”.
Prof Christina Pagel, director of the clinical operational research unit at University College London and member of the Independent Sage group of experts, said a spike in B.1.617.2 cases means the May 17 reopening should be delayed.
The COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium, which tracks and identifies new variants, has reportedly recorded 1,723 cases of the variant. Cases appear to double every week.
Prof Pagel told the Guardian: “We’ve done this so many times – waited until things got really bad before we realised we should have acted several weeks ago.
“So why don’t we actually act several weeks ago – which is now!”
The UK’s vaccine rollout has continued at pace, after 135,113 first doses and 350,147 second doses were administered yesterday.
So far, the UK has administered 35,722,461 first doses and 18,438,532 second doses of coronavirus vaccine.
That equals 67.8 percent of the UK’s adult population having received their first dose, and 35 percent receiving their second.
Yesterday saw another 2,284 cases and 11 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.
In total, the UK has seen 4,441,975 cases and 127,640 deaths.