British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce the next phase in England”s easing of lockdown restrictions on Monday, with “cautious hugging” potentially set to make a return in the UK.
The British government revealed on Friday its list of “green light” countries that residents will be able to visit without having to quarantine upon return, starting 17 May, when the next phase in England’s road map out of lockdown will come into effect.
Among the countries on the “green” list under England’s new traffic light travel system, which lays out which countries are relatively safe for travel in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, are Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel.
In addition to opening up international travel come 17 May, a number of other changes are expected across England, with Michael Gove suggesting on Sunday that family members and friends could soon be allowed to have “friendly” and “intimate contact”, including hugging.
A determination still has to be made, however, with Johnson expected to make a call on cuddling in his announcement. But, in the meantime, Gove’s comments sparked headlines of plans for “cautious hugging” in England.
So far, the development appears to have been well received, with English actor and comedian Stephen Fry welcoming the “good” news.
“I’ve tried to be as obedient as possible during this pandemic and its various necessary lockdowns & restrictions, but I confess I may not have consistently refrained from hugging family members,” Fry admitted.
However, he said: “Still, good to know it’ll soon be allowed. If you see me in the street – run for it”.
In addition to potentially having closer contact, people across Britain are expected to be allowed to gather indoors in groups of up to six people or two households, including in restaurants and other indoor venues.
Meanwhile, people will also be able to meet in groups of up to 30 outside.
In the midst of Britain’s high-speed vaccination rollout, the country’s daily case and death rates have plunged, with just two fatalities reported on Sunday.
The lifting of restrictions to be revealed on Monday will only apply to England, however, with devolved governments in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales following their own road maps out of lockdown.