Boris Johnson this week announced a further loosening of the lockdown would be enforced from June 1. On Thursday, the Prime Minister confirmed people can gather in groups of six people in public or private outdoor spaces, as long as social distancing is observed.
But Mr Johnson insisted the measures would not be implemented until Monday – meaning Britons cannot meet in groups over the weekend despite many being tempted to do so with temperatures soaring.
School children in reception, year one and year six are allowed to return to the classroom despite opposition from teaching unions.
The Prime Minister has also opened up parts of the UK economy and permitted outdoor markets and car showrooms to begin trading once again.
Lockdown restrictions were lifted after Mr Johnson said the UK had met the five tests.
The tests were to ensure the NHS is not overwhelmed, a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates, the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels, ensure the supply of PPE and testing, and finally reducing the risk of a second peak of the virus.
The Government’s chief scientific advisor Sir Patrick Vallance also confirmed the so-called “R” rate – which measures the human-to-human transmission rate of coronavirus – was between 0.7 and 0.9.
With many restrictions still in place, Mr Johnson urged the British public to remain cautions.
He said: “I cannot and will not throw away all the gains we’ve made together and so the changes we’re making are limited and cautious.
“It’s thanks to the caution you’ve shown so far that all five met are being met.
“The result is that we can move forward with adjusting the lockdown in England on Monday.”
Meanwhile despite the UK being in lockdown for over two months, a number of experts in the Government’ Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) have broken cover and warned the measures are being lifted too early.
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Sir Jeremy Farrar, a medical researcher and former professor of tropical medicine at the University of Oxford, agreed and added the new system of using 25,000 contact tracers needed to be “fully working” before measures were eased.
Meanwhile Professor Peter Horby, of the University of Oxford, said the UK was still recording 8,000 new cases per day and insisted a second wave of infections would be far worse than a further two weeks without any loosening of restrictions.
On track-and-trace, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ”Sage has always been very clear that that needs to be in place and fully operational before social distancing can be safely relaxed.
“We are not entirely sure what the effect of relaxing the social measures will be, and so we need to have that safety net of the test, trace and isolate system.
“And, as we know, it’s not yet fully operational – so, I think that is where the risk lies.
“We are entering a period where there is a risk of increasing transmission, but we don’t yet have that safety net fully in place.
“Returning to a situation where we lost control again is far worse than another week or two of social measures.”