Next phase of coronavirus lockdown could see family and friends mixing in 'bubbles'

28 April 2020, 09:00

Boris Johnson is expected to set out phase two by the end of the week
Boris Johnson is expected to set out phase two by the end of the week. Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

Boris Johnson is expected to set out the second phase of lockdown at some point this week, which could include letting family and friends meet in limited "bubbles".

People could be allowed to meet in these "bubbles" of maximum ten people, according to reports.

The new coronavirus guidelines for socialising could allow close family members to meet for meals.

It also means that couples who do not live together may be able to see each other again.

A potential system could be that people would nominate a list of people they wish to see, drawn from no more than one or two households.

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Currently the UK rules state that people should not meet up with anyone they do not live with, and people are still being told they must stay inside and only go out for essentials such as food shopping or daily exercise.

People are still being urged to stay at home
People are still being urged to stay at home. Picture: PA

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The official review of the lockdown in not expected until 7 May but the Prime Minister is expected to detail how "phase two" could look by the end of this week.

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The first steps are set to include details on how workplaces can enforce social distancing between staff members.

Shops selling non-essential items could also re-open.

However, schools are expected to remain closed until more is known about the impact of the virus on children.

Tough restrictions on people travelling into the UK from abroad are set to remain and could potentially including a 14-day quarantine period.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed on his return to work yesterday that he would give clarity to the public on what stage two of lockdown could look like.

He also braced the public for a "new normal", which will need to juggle the economy while limiting the threat of a second wave of infection.

The Prime Minister told the public: “The second phase, in which we continue to suppress the disease and keep the reproduction rate - the R rate - down, but begin gradually to refine the economic and social restrictions and one-by-one to fire up the engines of this vast UK economy.”

Mr Johnson, drawing on his own battle with Covid-19 which put him in intensive care, said: "If this virus were a physical assailant, an unexpected and invisible mugger - which I can tell you from personal experience, it is - then this is the moment when we have begun together to wrestle it to the floor.

"And so it follows that this is the moment of opportunity, this is the moment when we can press home our advantage, it is also the moment of maximum risk.

"I know there will be many people looking at our apparent success, and beginning to wonder whether now is the time to go easy on those social distancing measures."

He said he understood "how hard and stressful it has been to give up, even temporarily, those ancient and basic freedoms".

But he warned the potential of a second spike in cases risked "economic disaster".

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