Downing Street Briefing: Prime Minister updates

Speaking from Downing Street ‘We remain on track to move towards step 4’ Boris has announced.

The PM says that from 17 May in England, people will be able to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 people, and meet indoors in groups of up to six or as two households. He started by thanking everyone for their patience and sacrifices. “Your efforts have so visibly paid off”, he says.

The Prime Minister also added ‘remember, outdoors is always safer than indoors. Hands face space and fresh air.’

He added “We must remain vigilant,” this is “the single biggest step on our roadmap,” of unlocking the country.

Boris was joined by Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance as they announced that pubs and restaurants can serve people inside from next Monday. Furthermore, galleries, theatres, cinemas and soft play centres can also reopen. Not forgetting that we can now hug loved ones!

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The UK alert level has gone down from 4 to 3.

A statement from the medical officers and NHS England’s national medical director said that people must remain “vigilant” of the virus, but added the decision to downgrade the alert level was “thanks to the efforts of the UK public”.

They said: “Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director agree that the UK alert level should move from level 4 to level 3.

The latest data for schools shows infection rates among students and staff continue to decrease in line with wider community transmission.

So face coverings for pupils will no longer be recommended in classrooms or in communal areas in secondary schools and colleges, under the plans confirmed today.

Twice weekly home testing will remain to control infection rates.

All remaining university students will be eligible to return to in-person teaching and learning from 17 May, and should get tested twice a week upon return.

Professor, Chris Whitty said that the threats of Covid are “significantly reduced” but there are still some “residual issues” that need to be kept a close eye on, reiterating the PM’s words that “we need to go carefully and steadily”.


The new rules include:

• People in England will be able to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 people; and meet indoors in groups of up to six people, or as two households. Children of any age, including babies, will count towards the limit of six people indoors.

• People will have the choice whether to socially distance with close family and friends they are meeting up with. But they are urged to remain cautious about the risks of hugging.

• Secondary schools and colleges will no longer require pupils to wear masks in classrooms or communal areas.

• All university students will be able to return to in-person teaching.

• Pubs, bars and restaurants will be able to serve people indoors, while cinemas, museums and indoor children’s play areas will reopen.

• Theatres, concert venues, conference centres and sports stadiums can reopen, albeit with limits on the size of audiences and crowds.

• Adult sports can resume indoors and saunas and steam rooms can reopen.

• People will be allowed to stay overnight somewhere else in the UK in groups of up to six people, or two households.

• People will be able to travel abroad to those countries on the “green list”.

• Weddings, receptions and other life events will be allowed to take place with up to 30 people.

• The cap on the number of people allowed to attend funerals will be lifted, in line with how many people can be safely accommodated in venues.

• Care home residents will be able to have up to five named visitors and allowed greater freedoms to make visits out of their homes.

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