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Brits could hug again with Boris Johnson set to ease lockdown

Brits could hug again with Boris Johnson set to ease lockdown

May 11, 2021: -U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce that the government will push ahead with the next stage of lifting lockdown in England.

Johnson’s Cabinet is expected to sign off on Monday the further relaxing of lockdown measures to begin May 17. International travel would resume following Monday in most circumstances, although quarantines and testing would be required on return to the U.K., for the most part.

Pubs and restaurants are also due to welcome customers indoors again, and indoor household mixing will be allowed to resume for groups of up to six people. The government has said it hopes to lift all restrictions on social contact by June 21.

Around midday Monday, the U.K.’s chief medical officers agreed to lower the country’s Covid-19 alert level from 4 to level 3, which means Covid transmission is high or rising exponentially to the epidemic is in general circulation.

“Thanks to the efforts of the U.K. public in social distancing and the impact we are starting to see from the vaccination program, case numbers, deaths, and Covid hospital pressures have fallen consistently,” the U.K.’s four chief medical officers said in a joint statement. However, they called on the public to remain vigilant.

The expected announcement on a further lifting of lockdown comes when a political storm is brewing in the north after Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon vowed on Saturday to press ahead with plans for a new referendum on independence from the U.K.

The comments by the leader of the Scottish National Party came after her party finished just one seat short of winning an overall majority in Scottish parliamentary elections last Thursday. The party is expected to call on the Scottish Green Party, another pro-independence party, for support for calling for another referendum.

Johnson has said he would try to block a second independence referendum, but Sturgeon has insisted that the election result showed a mandate for a second vote.

A vote in favor of independence is not a foregone conclusion. In the last option in 2014, 44.7% of voters opted for freedom, and 55.3% voted against the split, and question marks over Scotland’s economic viability as an independent nation remain unanswered.

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