UK: Further easing of lockdown confirmed from May 17

By Hamed Chapman

London, (The Muslim News): Lockdown restrictions will be further relaxed from May 17 in England in accordance with the roadmap he set out three months ago, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has confirmed.

The easing, the largest so far including allowing people to meet indoors in groups of up to six or as two households or outdoors in groups of up to 30 people, comes too late for this week’s Eid al-Fitr festival to mark the end of Ramadan this week.

At a briefing in Downing Street on Monday, Johnson referred to the “sacrifices” people have been making, exampling grandparents who have gone for months without seeing their grandchildren, weddings being postponed and funerals constrained as well as Eid yet again facing restrictions.

“Today we are taking a step towards that moment when we learn to live responsibly with Covid, when we cease eventually to rely on detailed Government edicts and make our own decisions based on the best scientific advice about how to protect our families and those around us,” he said.

From next Monday, people will be able to sit inside a restaurant or a pub, be able to go to the cinema, children will be able to use indoor play areas, hostels, hotels, and B&Bs are re-opening as are theatres, concert halls and business conference centres as well as turnstiles of sports stadia being unlocked subject to capacity limits.

People from next week in England will be able to travel within the country and stay overnight, allowing schools to organise trips with overnight stays. Pupils themselves will no longer require face coverings in classrooms or for students in communal areas in secondary schools and colleges.

While remaining University students will be able to return to in-person teaching, the number of named visitors for those in care homes is also being increased from two to five and residents will have greater freedoms to leave their home without having to isolate on their return.

Data at the briefing was presented showing that progress was continuing to make against the Covid-19 virus and that the four tests to further ease restrictions were being met – that he vaccine programme continued to be successful, it was
reducing hospitalisations, that infection rates do not risk put unsustainable pressure on the NHS and that the risks had not fundamentally changed by about new Variants of Concern.

At the same time, all four UK Chief Medical Officers confirmed that the UK Covid-19 alert level should move from level 4 (the second highest) down to level 3. Johnson suggested that he was hopeful subject to the impact of the latest step 3 on data, that England remained on track to move to step 4 on June 21.

[Photo: Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing easing of Lockdown from Monday 17 May at Covid-19 Press Conference at No 9 Downing Street on 10 May. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street]

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