Outdoor sports and socialising resume as England's lockdown eases

UK’s Johnson urges caution as some lockdown measures ease

UK’s Johnson urges caution as some lockdown measures ease

It's being dubbed Happy Monday.

Easing of restrictions in fact began on 8 March, when schools reopened and people were allowed to meet one friend or relative outdoors.

And, as if right on cue, the weather is turning, with temperatures rising to levels more akin to southern Spain at this time of year.

People can meet up again in parks and gardens from Monday as two separate households or under the rule of six, with social distancing.

"I know how much people have missed the camaraderie and competition of organised sport, and how hard it has been to restrict physical activities - especially for children", the prime minister was quoted as saying by Sky News.

If coronavirus data allows it, the third step might come on 17 May, which will see the "rule of six" abolished for outdoor gatherings, to be replaced with a limit of 30 people. In Wales, thousands of people poured onto beaches and mountain spots on Saturday, after the authorities lifted travel restrictions that have been in place since December.

However the Prime Minister is urging everyone to remain cautious, especially with coronavirus cases rising across Europe.

Non-essential retail and hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants will also remain closed, but takeaway food is still permitted.

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Travel overseas will continue to be prohibited for holidays to tackle the spread of new variants from across the world - with £5,000 fines being issued to those who break this rule.

That contrasts with much of Europe, with Germany and France among countries contending with a third wave of COVID-19 infections and hospitalisations. A "fresh air" public information campaign is launching warning against the dangers of gathering indoors.

"Despite today's easements, everyone must continue to stick to the rules, remember hands, face, space, and come forward for a vaccine when called".

It is estimated that 57% of the United Kingdom population have now received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and the latest daily cases have dropped to levels last seen in September 2020.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed an upcoming "Great British summer of sport", applauding the fact that people would be able to "resume the activities they love".

The U.K.is aiming to give everyone over the age of 18 a first jab by July, with second shots delivered within 12 weeks of the first. The European Union, which has clearly lagged behind the United Kingdom during the vaccination drive, has also threatened to block shipments of vaccines from factories in the bloc unless drugmakers - notably Anglo-Swedish firm AstraZeneca - send more shots to EU nations.

Professor Sir Mark Walport, a member of the Sage advisory panel and former chief scientific adviser, said that there is "good reason to be cautious" as restrictions are eased, with concerns about mounting cases on the continent.

England's stay-at-home lockdown order ended on Monday with people allowed to meet up outside in groups of six for the first time in almost three months, though Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged caution due to rising coronavirus cases in Europe.

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