Steve Allen 4am - 7am
Hugging friends and family 'to be allowed in two weeks’ time'
1 May 2021, 07:29 | Updated: 1 May 2021, 07:41
People are set to be allowed to hug their friends and family again in just over a fortnight as the next stage in the roadmap out of lockdown approaches.
Rules on social distancing have remained in place with officials maintaining the policy is "under review" but it could reportedly be lifted as the country reaches the next stage of lockdown on May 17 due to falling cases of Covid-19 and the success of the vaccination programme.
Just one in 1,000 people in England now have Covid-19 and the R value is between 0.8 and 1.1.
In accordance with the Prime Minister's roadmap out of lockdown, limits on outdoor meetings will be lifted from May 17 and the rule of six - or two households rule - will apply indoors.
It is expected that people will be told they can hug close friends and family again, but social distancing rules will be expected to stay for others.
Government guidance states the advice 'on social distancing between friends and family' will be updated on May 17.
A source told the Times: "The data is looking very good. The scientists say we're on track for the next stage unless something changes dramatically."
No10 announced yesterday that people living in care homes will be free to leave for "low risk" trips without needing to self-isolate for 14 days afterwards.
Care home residents will be allowed to leave their homes for a walk or to visit a loved one's garden from Tuesday, without the need to quarantine upon their return.
However, it is understood that those leaving for medical appointments and overnight visits will still need to lock themselves away for two weeks when back at their home.
On Friday, LBC presenter Nick Ferrari hit out at the current rule branded "barbaric" by the families of residents.
"I don't know that you could treat animals like that without there being an outcry," he said.
Responding to the announcement, campaigners warned "the devil will be in the detail" and that they will be scrutinising the new guidance once it is published "to ensure that it is lawful and fit for purpose".