Monday, 21 Sep 2020

Boris Johnson set to announce new social distancing rule to help reopen UK

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This rule would allow people to go within one metre of each other providing they are sticking to other rules, such as wearing masks or meeting outdoors. The proposal, reported by the Sunday Telegraph, will be in effect from July 4 and is understood to apply to all venues. Professor Callum Semple on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has previously been against changing the current 2m rule but has said: “It is now a reasonable political decision to relax these rules.”

Mr Johnson is expected to announce the change on Tuesday.

Officials are said to believe a one metre rule with extra protections is similar to a two metre rule with no extra protections.

Canada and Spain currently join the UK at 2m.

However, the US is at 1.8m.

Australia, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands and Portugal are at 1.5m.

South Korea is at 1.4m.

By moving to 1m, the UK will be in line with China, Denmark, France, Hong Kong, Lithuania and Singapore.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has previously said the Government review of the measures would “make an enormous difference” to firms “who are keen to see a change”

It is thought the relaxation might also speed up the reopening of schools.

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), told the BBC: “There is no social distancing if you’ve got 30 children in one classroom.

“But then you’re going to ask them to abide by social distancing when they go out, I think that won’t work and that will mean children aren’t looking at social distancing at all.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said Friday all pupils in all years will go back to school in September.

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Mr Williamson said the Government was “signed up to bring every child back, in every year group, in every school”.

In the most recent daily update, the Department of Health and Social Care announced a further 128 deaths.

This puts the total UK death toll at 42,589.

A total of 303,110 have tested positive.

1,295 of these came yesterday out of 230,550 tests provided for.

There have been 7,714,201 tests provided for.

The Department also reminded: “Anyone can catch it.

“Anyone can spread it.

“If you have coronavirus symptoms – no matter how mild – you must self-isolate and book a test now.”

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