UK lowers Covid alert degree

London, May 10

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will set out on next Monday the next phase of lockdown easing, giving the green light to “cautious hugging” and the serving of pints inside pubs after months of strict restrictions.

News about the next easing, to begin on May 17, comes as the country’s chief medical officers lowered the Covid alert level, meaning that an epidemic is in general circulation, but transmission is no longer high or rising exponentially.

The five-level alert system was devised last year to determine the levels of lockdown and social distancing required to keep the rate of infections from the deadly virus under check.

In a statement, the medical officers said social distancing and the rapid vaccine rollout had helped to bring Covid cases and daily deaths down sharply. “However, Covid is still circulating with people catching and spreading the virus every day, so we all need to continue to be vigilant,” they said.

Britain is in the process of gradually lifting its latest lockdown over a period of months, in line with a four-step plan unveiled in February. Under Step 3, from May 17 people will be permitted to meet up indoors for the first time in months, in groups of up to six people or two full households together. Pubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to host customers indoors. — Reuters

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