Boris Johnson to press ahead with lifting England Covid’s curbs

The British prime minister gives thumbs-up to latest lockdown-easing plan.,

LONDON — Boris Johnson will press ahead with unlocking England on May 17, Downing Street said Sunday night.

From that date, six people, or two households, will be allowed to meet indoors, and 30 people will be able to congregate outdoors. Most businesses will be able to reopen, and pub and restaurant customers will be able to eat and drink indoors. Cinemas and children’s play areas will also be able to reopen.

Large events and sporting fixtures will be allowed to resume with a reduced capacity for spectators, and weddings and funerals will be allowed to go ahead with up to 30 people.

In comments released by No. 10, ahead of a press conference on Monday at which Johnson will confirm the move, the U.K. prime minister said his roadmap out of lockdown remained “on track.”

“The data reflects what we already knew — we are not going to let this virus beat us,” Johnson added. Downing Street said infection rates had plummeted to their lowest level since September, and more than 35 million people have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

The Office for National Statistics estimates that 1 in 1,180 people have COVID-19, down from 1 in 480 at the start of April.

Speaking to the BBC on Sunday, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove confirmed friends and family would be allowed to hug again from around May 17.

“Friendly contact, intimate contact, between friends and family is something we want to see restored,” Gove said.

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