Sunday 9 May 2021 12:42 pm

Hugging to be allowed soon as UK on track for lockdown easing

Brits will be allowed to hug once again soon as Boris Johnson is set to confirm the next stage of the UK’s easing of lockdown restrictions.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said the prime minister will give the green light tomorrow for the next stage of the roadmap on 17 May.

This will mean people can go to each other’s houses, while indoor hospitality will be allowed to resume.

“Thanks to the success of the UK vaccination programme and also the good sense of people across the UK we can progressively relax measures,” he told Sky News.

“I anticipate that the prime minister tomorrow will signal that we can enter the next stage of relaxation in England on 17 May and as the transport secretary indicated yesterday that means also that some of the rules on international travel are changing as well.”

He told the BBC that the measures will also mean people are allowed to hug again.

“Friendly contact, intimate contact, between friends and family is something we want to see restored,” he said.

The next easing of lockdown is also set to mark the end of a ban on international travel.

The government this week confirmed a traffic light system will be used to determine quarantine measures for different destinations.

Countries on the green list will be cleared for quarantine-free travel as long as Covid tests are taken before and after travel.

Only a handful of countries, including Portugal, Israel and Malta, have so far been added to the green list.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps last week said Turkey would be added to the red list, meaning travellers will have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days on their return.

The move has sparked concerns over the final of the Champions League between Manchester City and Chelsea, with fans effectively unable to attend.

Gove today said that “delicate negotiations” were underway about the match being moved to the UK.