Two households ‘to be able to meet outside by Easter’

20 February 2021, 07:43 | Updated: 20 February 2021, 11:26

People walk and run through Battersea Park, London, during England's third national lockdown
People walk and run through Battersea Park, London, during England's third national lockdown. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Two households will be able to meet outside by Easter under Boris Johnson’s so-called ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown which will be unveiled on Monday, it has been reported.

The Prime Minister will announce his plans on Monday afternoon.

The decision to allow people from different households to meet outside was made to acknowledge “how tough these last few weeks and months have been,” the Sun reported.

There are also reports that the beauty industry, including hairdressers, will not be allowed to reopen until the end of April.

The coronavirus reproduction number, or R value, across the UK has dropped to between 0.6 and 0.9, according to the latest Government figures released yesterday.

Last week, it was between 0.7 and 0.9.

R represents the average number of people each Covid-19 positive person goes on to infect.

When the figure is above 1, an outbreak can grow exponentially, but when it is below 1, it means the epidemic is shrinking.

An R number between 0.6 and 0.9 means that, on average, every 10 people infected will infect between six and nine other people.

Care home residents will be allowed one regular named visitor from March 8, coinciding with the reopening of schools.

Visitors will be required to take a coronavirus lateral flow test before entry and personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn.

Residents will be asked not to hug or kiss their relatives, though hand holding will be permitted. Guidance for care homes is expected to be published in the next fortnight.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was "pleased" that it would soon be possible for people to be "carefully and safely reunited with loved ones who live in care homes".

Outdoor visits - as well as those inside pods or behind screens - will be able to continue, giving residents the chance to see more than just their nominated visitor.

The Government met its target to offer all care home residents - along with social care and NHS staff, all those aged over 70 and the most clinically vulnerable - a vaccine by February 15.

Scientists believe the vaccines become effective after three weeks, meaning by March 8 all those who accepted a vaccine should have a good level of protection from Covid-19.

However, vaccination will not be a condition of visiting. Visits will also be suspended during local outbreaks in individual homes.