- Revealed: What the new UK lockdown rules mean for you
- Lockdown eased - but here's what you still can't do
- Pubs and restaurants reopening – but no propping up the bar
- Telegraph experts give their verdicts on the new measures
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Boris Johnson is hoping to go to the pub, get his hair cut and play a game of "village cricket", he revealed, as he confirmed the biggest change to lockdown since it began in March.
Pubs, restaurants, cafes and other hospitality venues have been given the green light to reopen, as well as cinemas, museums and galleries. The two-metre rule is being replaced with a "one-metre-plus" measure, to enable hospitality to increase the number of customers firms can accommodate. Two households will be able to meet up and people can now take "staycations" in England with the reopening of accommodation sites.
"Today, we can say that our long national hibernation is beginning to come to an end and life is returning to our shops, streets and homes and a new, but cautious, optimism is palpable," he told MPs.
"But it would be all too easy for that frost to return and that is why we will continue to trust in the common sense and the community spirit of the British people to follow this guidance, to carry us through and see us to victory over this virus."
Leading the last daily press conference, Mr Johnson admitted: "Frankly, I can't wait to go to a pub or a restaurant even if it may not be wholly compatible with the new diet that I'm on."
The famously dishevelled Prime Minister also pointed to his urgent need for a hair cut.
And Mr Johnson said he hoped to see a performance at the Globe Theatre and play a game of village cricket - both activities not allowed under the new freedoms - saying people should not think that "today's package is the summit of our ambitions".
Read more below.
And that's it for another day....
It's been another busy day. The Prime Minister has announced the biggest changes to lockdown since it was imposed in March, revealing the huge number of businesses that will be able to reopen from July 4.
There are, however, plenty of sectors that still have no sense of when they might be able to follow suit, and in the last of the daily press conferences the two chiefs Sir Patrick Vallance and Sir Chris Whitty struck their usual note of caution, warning that we could be living under restrictions until this time next year.
But however you look at it, come next Saturday we will be able to do a lot more than we currently can.
More than 1,600 of you voted in today's poll - with 47 per cent saying you want to go for a drink in your local, and maybe a bit to eat too. However 16 per cent of you say you're still too unsure about safety to risk it.
I will be back from 8am tomorrow, which promises to be another busy day - not least the opposition day debate, which Labour is using to challenge Robert Jenrick over his intervention in the Richard Desmond development.
Disease is the same, but we are better at dealing with it, says PM
Boris Johnson wraps up the last of the daily press conferences by stressing that "the disease is the same but we are now better at dealing with it".
He adds: "The virus is still out there", urging people to "stay alert".
And that's it for the press conferences.
One-to-one tutoring part of longer term education plans, Boris Johnson signals
Asked about the impact of lockdown on children from deprived backgrounds, and what long-term initiatives will be brought forward to tackle those problems, Boris Johnson says it is "one of the most unfair aspects of this illness".
"It has been unfair in the way it has impacted on young people, children's education," he says. "It's kids from deprived backgrounds, who really need to be back in schools, who aren't going back in the way they really should and could."
School is about social justice, he says.
Mr Johnson says longer-term "we have to look at what is happening across the whole of the country", in terms of investment into school buildings, infrastructure and broadband.
He says there also needs to be "more one-to-one tutoring" of the kind that is being supported through the Government's catch up programme.
Boris Johnson urges Britons to take 'staycations'
Asked if people are able to go on foreign holidays if they are willing to quarantine afterwards, Boris Johnson says the current advice is that people avoid all but essential travel, but this will be reviewed next week.
"I acutely understand people's desire to do this, and need to know," he adds. But quarantine is "necessary", he says, recommending "staycations" instead.
Asked if they believe the test and trace, Sir Chris Whitty says the system is "already doing a lot". The biggest problem is that people don't report that they have symptoms.
"By reporting when you have symptoms, getting a test and then isolating, that is a huge service" to everybody else, he adds. He says the system is "improving every day" and will continue to improve further in the summer. "In due course it will be a very major part of our defence," he adds.
Coronavirus restrictions likely to last until next spring, says Prof Whitty
Asked how long they think it will be before we "see the end" of things like hand sanitisers, Sir Patrick Vallance says he can't put a time on it. "We are on the way with therapeutics," he says, "which does create an opportunity".
Vaccines are also underway, and both of them are "key ways" to exit this situation, he says. "Fingers crossed one of these vaccines comes good," he says, noting it was "a game of patience".
Sir Chris Whitty says he would be "surprised and delighted" if we exited the situation before the winter and into the spring. "But I have an absolute confidence in science to overcome infectious diseases," he says.
Prof Whitty predicted that the country could have to cope with Covid-19 into 2021.
He said: "I would be surprised and delighted if we weren't in this current situation through the winter and into next spring.
"I think then let's regroup and work out where we are.
"I expect there to be a significant amount of coronavirus circulating at least into that time and I think it is going to be quite optimistic that for science to come fully to the rescue over that kind of timeframe.
Asked about people spending their savings and "make July 4 a bit of a day of celebrations", the Prime Minister says he "hopes it will be a great day", but urges people "not to overdo it".
"We can't have great writhing scenes in the beer garden where the virus could be passed on," he adds.
And asked which freedom he is most looking forward to, Boris Johnson says he wants to go to the Globe Theatre, go to a restaurant and get his hair cut as well as play village cricket again - something that is not currently set to be allowed from July 4.
"Don't think this package represents the summit f our ambitions", he adds.
Lockdown changes 'cannot be risk-free', says Sir Patrick Vallance
Asked again about the risk of dropping from two metres to one, Sir Patrick Vallance urges people to follow the mitigations.
He says the package "is not risk free. It cannot be risk free" but they will "monitor, measure and take the right steps" if needed.
Sir Patrick says this is the right approach to allow that, noting there might be in some circumstances the need for "reversal" of measures.
Asked if he thinks people re too scared to go out, Boris Johnson says "people need to enjoy themselves... I want to see bustle, I want to see activity, but... I also want to see everyone being sensible and following the guidance."
People must follow 'mitigations' or risk uptick in cases, say experts
Asked about the difference between the UK Government's approach and the rest of the four nations, Boris Johnson says there is "far more harmony" between the approaches saying the UK will proceed in "the same direction, at more or less the same pace".
The two chiefs are asked if they back the Prime Minister's decision to open up the economy, but Mr Johnson intervenes to say he has been "ruthlessly even handed" in how he has set out the changes, saying "I could not have been clearer we must be cautious".
Asked how worried about the possible uptick in transmission in light of dropping the two metre rule, Sir Patrick Vallance says "if you add the mitigations... one metre can be equivalent risk to two metres."
In terms of Sage, he adds, that is an advisory body rather than a decision-making one.
Sir Chris Whitty adds that if people "don't take mitigation seriously" and start behaving as they did before there will be an uptick. That is why there are restrictions on individuals and businesses.
There may well be upticks anyway, he adds. It is a balance of risk and "I think this is a reasonable balance of risk," he says. "This is not risk free."
Prof Whitty then praises the other CMOs of the nations, saying: "We really do work together."
Treatments 'building blocks' to help open more of economy, say chiefs
Asked what might change for things to be opened further, Boris Johnson stresses that the changes are coming in because of the reduction of incidence of the virus, which has happened despite the R-rate staying broadly the same.
As those instances go down, there will be opportunities "to get back to normal as fast as possible, for as many people as possible," he says.
Asked what assessment of the economic impact to businesses from adapting to the new measures the Government has made, the Prime Minister says he hopes it will be positive.
Six weeks ago, "a lot of people were saying we would be hard pushed to reopen hospitality by July 4," he says.
"There will be serious economic consequences from the whole pandemic, he says. "I have no doubt the UK will show enormous resilience".
Sir Chris Whitty repeats that "we will have to be living with this for a very long time", and what might change is "epidemiology - which might go up as well as down".
He also points to the dexamethadone treatment as an example of what might "change our understanding of risk".
Sir Patrick Vallance says there are limited options, noting that the idea it just "burns out and disappears" is extremely unlikely. He echoes Prof Whitty in saying it is likely the virus could come back in the winter.
Sir Patrick also points to the treatments and says they are "building blocks" which we can expect more of.
Boris Johnson: 'I take responsibility for decisions'
Turning to questions from the journalists, Boris Johnson is asked if he will take responsibility for whatever happens after he reopens the country. He says it is "absolutely right" that everyone is cautious, and that people need to understand the "balance in this package".
"Yes of course I take responsibility, the Government takes responsibility for these decisions," he says, thanking the experts, but noting that ministers decide.
Sir Chris Whitty stresses that the risk of "one metre plus" can be reduced to "something that is equivalent to two metres" because of the mitigations.
Meat packing outbreak about environment, not the product, says Prof Vallance
Asked about the outbreaks in meat processing plants, Boris Johnson says they are aware of the issue and hands over to the chiefs.
Sir Patrick Vallance says the Food Standards Agency has look at meat to see if it is a vector for transmitting and the risk is low - so it is more about the environment.
"They are cold, wand we know the virus likes it when it is cold," he says. There are also "places where people can end up infecting each other."
Sir Chris Whitty says "many environments" including meat packing and health care settings, the area of maximum risk is social or communal areas.
"Meat packing factories and food processing areas have led to several outbreaks around the world, so we have to take this particularly seriously," he adds.
Dentists and GPs should be functioning as normal, says PM
Turning to questions from the public, Boris Johnson is asked when primary care and dental practices are able to work as normal again.
The Prime Minister says dental care "we got back a few weeks ago" and primary care "should be functioning as normally as possible".
If people have conditions "go to your doctor, go to A&E," he adds. "We don't want to see people suffer through not using the NHS."
Sir Chris Whitty says GPs have been working throughout the pandemic, but will be returning to normal care "step by step".
Dental care is "particularly high risk", he adds explaining why dentists were shut. "People have to be very cautious, but dental work has started up again - carefully at first, but gradually people are finding ways to work."
Boris Johnson: Press conferences being wound down
Boris Johnson confirms that the daily press conferences are being "wound down".
He says this is because "we want to make sure we have something really important to say".
The Government will still keep people informed as there will "almost certainly be more outbreaks".
You have not seen the last of us by any means, he says.
Prof Chris Whitty: Get used to living with virus for prolonged period
Sir Chris Whitty says people will have to get used to living alongside the virus "for a prolonged period".
People must get tested as soon as possible if they exhibit any symptoms, and anyone in your household as well because there is a high change they have it.
"We have to isolate the virus," he says.
Prof Whitty says hand washing and wearing face masks are essential.
The risk is also about transmitting between households, which is why there is a restriction on only having two households indoors.
"A lot of the changes are about emphasising things we can do," he says. It is really critical businesses and individuals take them seriously.
That might include physical barriers, ventilation, face coverings and regularly cleaning areas that people touch.
He says treatment is "one of the first steps" but precautions are essential because without them "we will get back to a place where transmission will rise once again".
Sir Patrick Vallance: Covid-secure must mean Covid-secure
Sir Patrick Vallance confirms that the R-rate is still between 0.7 and 0.9 - the rate it has been pretty much since it was published.
The percentage of people who have had Covid-19 is "flattening off" he adds, which is important to note because it means it is "still here".
"Something in the order of five per cent of people have antibodies, suggesting the number of people who have been infected is still limited... and remain fully susceptible to it", he adds.
But the UK is "coming back down to the average" number of deaths, Sir Patrick says. However it is "growing across the world", he adds. "We need to be absolutely sure that we stay rigorously with the things that need to be done to stop the spread."
Covid-secure really needs to mean Covid-secure, says the chief scientific adviser.
Boris Johnson: I will put handbrake on if virus starts to rise
"Opening up more of Britain in this Covid secure way is only possible if everyone remains alert," Boris Johnson says, urging people to wash hands regularly, keep two metres apart where possible and crucially get a test if you have any of the symptoms.
The changes are only made because "we persevered together", he says.
"You met that challenge with good humour and common sense."
The fight is not over, he adds. There will be local outbreaks, and the Prime Minister says: "I will not hesitate to put the handbrake on and reverse the changes at a local, or indeed national level, if required."
But with continued good sense, "we will beat it once and for all," he says.
Boris Johnson confirms details of lockdown lift plan
Boris Johnson now lists the various sectors that can reopen, including hotels, libraries, cinemas, museums, hairdressers, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms.
He says it has been "incredibly tough times", but he hopes people take encouragement from the fact they can reopen their doors in a couple of weeks.
However "as things stand" nightclubs, swimming pools and indoor gyms "must remain closed for the time being, given particular risk s about transmission in those settings".
He repeats that taskforces are being set up to allow them to reopen as soon as possible.
People will also get more freedom to see friends and family, he says, confirming plans to allow households to meet with one other household outdoors, at a pub or in "paid accommodation".
Social distancing should be maintained at all times. This will be driven by common sense, rather than legislation, he notes.
Boris Johnson: We can now make life easier for people
The fact the five tests are being met means the Government can now press ahead to the third phase of the plan, Boris Johnson says.
"We can now make life easier for people, to see more of their friends and family" as well as getting back to work, he says.
"Having considered all the evidence, while staying at two metres is preferable we can now move to one metre plus," he says.
Precautions include screens, handwashing and limiting the time you spend with people outside your household.
On public transport it already means wearing a face covering "as everybody I think now understands," he says.
All five tests being met, says PM
The Prime Minister says the third test is to receive reliable data from Sage, showing the rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels across the board. Approximately one in 1700 have the virus, down from one in 400 a few weeks ago, he says, noting cases are "shrinking" every day.
He then turns to supply of tests and PPE, and again Boris Johnson says they are satisfied the fourth test is being met.
And the fifth and final test is to be confident that measures taken will not result in a peak that will overwhelm the NHS.
"The Government judges we have met the fifth test, and we are therefore satisfied that all five tests are being met," says Mr Johnson.
Prime Minister: Data provides confidence we are meeting tests
Boris Johnson is now appearing in his 16th, and last, time at the helm of the daily Downing Street press conferences. He is joined by Sir Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser.
The Prime Minister starts by going through the slides, which underscore the reasons for the changes announced today.
The Prime Minister explains the Government has "diligently assessed our progress" against these five tests, and notes that we are still meeting them, saying "the NHS coped fantastically under the extraordinary pressure of the pandemic".
The second test, to see a sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rates, has also been met, he says.
Caravan groups 'delighted' about lockdown changes
Just time for some more responses to the Prime Minister's announcement earlier today, before he chairs the last of the daily conferences.
The director generals of the British Holiday and Home Parks Association, the Camping and Caravanning Club, and the Caravan and Motorhome Club said in a joint statement: "Our three organisations were delighted to hear today's announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson regarding the reopening of England's hospitality sector on 4 July and his specific mention of campsites to cheers from the backbenches.
"The three organisations have been busy building plans for the reopening of our campsites and holiday parks, and we are all looking forward to welcoming holidaymakers back.
"We hope it will be a bumper summer for UK holidays, which will be a key contributor to the nation's economic recovery while also being essential for the health and wellbeing of individuals."
Sunak welcomes the return of pubs
Rishi Sunak has welcomed the news that pubs are reopening, despite the fact he doesn't drink, with a picture of him outside a shop.
The Chancellor tweeted: "I can’t wait to get back to the pub...and I don’t even drink."
"Good news for business today and glad we’ll all have a chance to enjoy the summer safely. #4thofJuly"
Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse abandons leadership bid
Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse has abandoned her bid to lead the party and backed rival Layla Moran.
Bath MP Ms Hobhouse concluded her campaign was "no longer the best vehicle" to change the party's direction and offered to work with Ms Moran.
The Lib Dems have been without a permanent leader since Jo Swinson was ousted as an MP in December's general election.
The new leader will be elected in August, with former Cabinet minister Sir Ed Davey and Ms Moran set to go head to head for the role as the party seeks to rebuild.
Ms Hobhouse said Ms Moran "represents a new generation with the talent to engage and inspire".
"She is now the only candidate who can break with our party's damaging legacy from the coalition and adopt a centre-left position to defeat the Conservatives at the next election."
Ms Moran said: "I look forward to working side by side as we move forward together as a strong, renewed and united party."
Sage adviser says lockdown easing was 'a surprise'
An adviser on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said the latest easing of lockdown measures in England "was a surprise" for him.
The University of Liverpool's Professor Calum Semple was asked by a viewer on BBC News about shielding measures which will be relaxed at the end of July.
He told BBC News: "As I've said I'm not a Government spokesman, so the detail of what was announced today was a surprise for me as well.
"It's going to be quite difficult, and how we learn to work in these situations is going to be challenging.
"How people will choose to self identify that they want their personal space respected is a real challenge, I've not heard much discussion about how that's going to happen."
Corbyn waits for High Court ruling on defamation suit
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is waiting for a High Court judge's ruling on a preliminary round of a defamation fight after being sued by a political blogger.
Richard Millett has complained about things Mr Corbyn said in a BBC television interview with broadcaster Andrew Marr nearly two years ago.
He says Mr Corbyn defamed him by accusing him of being "disruptive and abusive" at a 2013 meeting featuring a Palestinian speaker. Mr Corbyn disputes Mr Millett's claims and denies defaming him.
Mr Justice Saini heard that, Mr Corbyn, who was then not the Labour leader, had addressed a conference, claiming "the Zionists" who had attended the meeting had "berated" the Palestinian speaker.
He had said these "Zionists" did not want to study history and did not understand English irony.
In August 2018, when Mr Corbyn had become leader of the Labour Party, a video of that "irony speech" was made public. It was discussed during an interview on The Andrew Marr Show, when Mr Corbyn said he had accused them of not understanding English irony, because he wanted to defend the Palestinian speaker.
Mr Bennett told Mr Justice Saini: "To accuse someone of being disruptive and abusive to the degree in issue must cause (Mr Millett) to be defamed at common law."
Anthony Hudson QC, who represents Mr Corbyn, disagreed and told the judge that Mr Corbyn had not defamed Mr Millett.
Matthew Elliot Q&A: 'Coronavirus has made a Brexit trade deal more likely'
It's been four years since the country voted in the EU referendum. The Telegraph's Politics Live talks to Vote Leave chief executive Matthew Elliott about the campaign for Brexit and what the future holds.
How has coronavirus affected the Brexit talks?
In the early stages of the coronavirus crisis, some people predicted that it would make it more difficult to agree a UK-EU trade deal this year. I actually think it makes it more likely.
The work on the negotiations has carried on during the crisis, without being bogged down by the constant media focus and argy bargy, and the economic crisis arising from Covid gives both sides an additional incentive to reach an agreement.
What do you expect the trade talks to yield - will we have a deal before the year ends?
Not only do I think we'll have an EU-UK trade deal before the end of the year, I think Liz Truss and the Department for International Trade will have set up several other deals. Free trade was the key reason why I supported Leave in the referendum, so it's great to see the Government making so much progress on this front.
You worked on successful campaigns including No to AV and the EU referendum - what have you got next in your sights?
When I fought those referendum campaigns, I didn't have children. With a toddler and a newborn, my campaigning days are sadly over for the time being. But I enjoy following politics closely and it's reassuring to see the country in such good hands.
PureGym slams Government's 'strange war on obesity'
One of the UK's largest gym firms has attacked the Government's decision to reopen pubs and restaurants before fitness facilities, saying it is a "strange war on obesity".
PureGym said it is "extremely disappointed" in the Prime Minister's announcement today, which excluded gyms despite industry-agreed guidance on hygiene and social distancing being submitted early in May.
In a statement, the company said: "We understand that these decisions are not easy, but it is a strange 'war on obesity' that sees pubs and restaurants open before gyms.
"Our facilities are, on average, the size of five or six doubles tennis courts and are exceptionally well ventilated, enabling people to work and exercise safely and securely.
"Through our existing electronic entry system, we know the names and details of every single member in our facilities at any moment."
Boris Johnson pledged to wage a war on obesity after he recovered from coronavirus, suggesting his weight was a factor in him suffering worse than colleagues including Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary.
Question-marks raised over museums reopening
Some museums and galleries may never reopen despite getting the green light to do so by the Prime Minister, according to the Art Fund.
Although Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that museums and galleries in England can welcome visitors again from July 4, some of the biggest names - including the Tate and British Museum - are not expected to open on July 4.
When museums and galleries do open, they could also look very different - possibly without the cafes and play areas that bring in so many.
Art Fund director Jenny Waldman said while it was doing "everything we can to support" museums and galleries, many would need Government support to "help secure their future".
"It's great news that museums will be able to start opening their doors again from July 4 but for many this will take longer and the future of these vital beloved spaces remains uncertain," she said.
She warned that some will never recover from lockdown.
"The lockdown closures have hit museums' finances incredibly hard - some may never reopen and for those who can, social distancing measures will drastically limit visitor numbers and associated income that make them economically viable," she added.
The heads of Tate, the National Gallery, British Museum, Victoria And Albert Museum, Science Museum Group and Natural History Museum are all yet to confirm opening dates.
"We will now work closely with Government, trade unions and supporters to see how and when we can open our doors again in a financially sustainable manner, for the long term," they said.
"The British public have faced a wretched few months of isolation, loss and anxiety in confronting the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The reopening of museums - whose galleries speak to the creative, resilient power of the human spirit - will provide solace and inspiration as Britain looks to the future."
Their collections are there "to be discussed, challenged, and loved - a role of particular significance as we reflect on current debates around crucial issues including racial equality, social justice, and climate change", they said.
Caravan Council welcomes Prime Minister's 'staycation' plans
More reaction is still coming in after the Prime Minister's announcement, with the National Caravan Council welcoming his confirmation that caravan parks and campsites are included in the list of places Britons can enjoy "staycations".
The National Caravan Council (NCC) Director General, John Lally, commented: “This is great news for the two-plus million caravan owners and for the parks industry in England - and not a moment too soon.
“We have been working hard to explain to Government that caravan products are ‘socially distanced by design’ and that the parks industry across the UK can be safe places for people to holiday. Not only are caravans required to be 5m or 6m apart, but caravan parks are big open spaces, the ideal base for hard working families to enjoy the great outdoors.
“Parks already are working on safety protocols to keep their staff and visitors safe. So we are delighted that the great British caravan holiday can recommence in less than two weeks time.”
Have your say: What's top of your list once lockdown is lifted?
Now we know the full list of what we will be able to do from July 4 - see the post from 12:54pm if you're not sure.
And then come and let us know what is the top of your list of things to do: hit the pub, get a haircut or quench your thirst for culture.
Matthew Elliott Q&A: Boris Johnson is 'delivering Vote Leave's vision'
It's been four years since the country voted in the EU referendum. The Telegraph's Politics Live talks to Vote Leave chief executive Matthew Elliott about the campaign for Brexit and what the future holds.
Did you think, four years after the referendum, we would still be in the EU?
I certainly didn't think it would take so long. But the key mistake made by Theresa May was not having a credible walk away position.
In the same way the EU never believed David Cameron would campaign for a Leave vote, they never thought Theresa May would leave the EU without a deal.
Only when Boris came in did no deal become a realistic and credible prospect - hence movement in the negotiations and agreement on a deal.
Are you confident that the people will get the type of Brexit they thought they were voting for?
I am - people trust Boris Johnson on the issue, because he was front and centre to the campaign.
And I'm pleased to see that the wider themes we touched on during the referendum, such as the inequalities between different regions in the UK, have been picked up by the PM in his levelling up agenda.
He hasn't just delivered Brexit, he's delivering the overall vision we campaigned for at Vote Leave.
Sir Rocco Forte slams PM over 'unnecessary bureaucracy' of quarantine
Leading international hotelier Sir Rocco Forte has warned that halving the two-metre rule won't help tourism firms while quarantine measures remain in place because international travellers "simply won't be coming here".
The owner of the eponymous hotel chain said some of the moves announced today "go in the right direction", but without an end to quarantine he cannot open his UK hotels "because it is just not economically viable".
Sir Rocco added: "We are stopping people from coming to this country and saying that the UK is closed for business. These rules need to be lifted straight away. I also cannot see the sense in creating bureaucracy for pubs and restaurants by requiring them to take the names and addresses of people coming onto their premises. That is completely and utterly unnecessary and is going to make it difficult for them to operate efficiently if at all.
"People who are going to go out once lockdown is eased are people who have accepted the risks involved. People who have underlying health conditions and risk factors are simply not going to go to crowded places anyway.
"The Government needs to allow the country to get back to business rather than creating a whole lot of unnecessary bureaucracy."
Lockdown lift welcomed by tourism industry
VisitEngland director Patricia Yates has also welcomed the Prime Minister's changes to lockdown.
She said: "The confirmed timeline for reopening is great news for England's tourism industry and the millions of jobs and local economies that depend on it.
"Giving certainty to businesses means they can work with confidence on their plans to welcome visitors back safely and in time to save as much of the peak summer season as possible."
A spokeswoman for travel trade organisation Abta echoed this, saying: "The measures announced today to ease lockdown further in England and allow people to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation, and take domestic holidays from 4 July, is a step in the right direction on the road to restarting travel in earnest.
"With travel restrictions in place for the last few months, there is latent demand to travel with people wanting to visit close family and friends and have something to look forward to.
"However, the travel sector remains in a perilous state, with redundancies announced each week, and more needs to be done to help the whole sector recover."
Daily Downing Street press briefings to end
Number 10 has said the daily Downing Street press briefings will come to an end from tonight.
"We'll continue to hold press conferences to coincide with significant announcements, including with the PM," a spokesperson said.
The data which accompanies the briefings, which have run every weekday since the middle of March, will be published on gov.uk.
Unions attack PM over 'fantasy' plans to have schools fully open
Business groups and trade associations are welcoming the Prime Minister's announcement today to reopen much of the economy.
But there is one side that isn't happy: the unions.
Boris Johnson told MPs earlier that schools will fully reopen in September with "full attendance" as he announced the public will be expected to observe a distance of "one metre plus" from July 4.
But Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: "There has been a lot of conjecture that relaxing the two-metre social distancing rule to one metre will allow all children to return to school in September.
"This is pure fantasy. It may be possible to accommodate more pupils in classrooms with a one-metre (plus) separation, but not all pupils. There just isn't enough space in many classrooms to do this.
"It isn't a magic bullet, and nor is the Education Secretary's suggestion on Friday of doubling the size of social bubbles to 30, in order to facilitate a full return to schools."
He added: "We need a proper strategy to bring children back into schools and colleges based in reality and on public health guidance."
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, agreed. "The NEU is of course in favour of all children being back in school, but even with a one-metre rule that will need more teachers and more spaces.
"It is not clear whether in less than three months the science will permit classes of 30. If social distancing of one metre remains in place, that will still be difficult for schools."
Transport unions have already warned about plans to halve the two-metre rule.
Culture Secretary has good news for gym-goers
Gym-goers were dealt a blow today when the Prime Minister included indoor facilities in the list of firms that cannot open from July 4, along with swimming pools.
We have been told this is because of the higher risk these kind of venues carry - and the need for more intensive cleaning between each user.
But Oliver Dowden, the Culture Secretary, has some good news - he is working on a plan to have them reopened by the middle of the month.
GYMS— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) June 23, 2020
Many people keen to hit the gym & keeping Britain fit is key in Covid battle
We’ve made lots of progress & I know steps businesses have taken to make their spaces & equipment safe
Subject to public health, our aspiration is to reopen gyms & leisure facilities in mid-July
Watch again: Prime Minister unveils plans to lift lockdown measures
If you missed it earlier, you can watch Boris Johnson's statement to the Commons again here.
Further 46 people die with coronavirus in England, says NHS
A further 46 people who tested positive for coronavirus have died, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 28,384.
Patients were aged between 51 and 97 years old, two of whom had no underlying health conditions.
There were no deaths recorded in the South West, and two in London. But the North West saw 15, while there were 11 in the North East and Yorkshire.
July 4 'can't come soon enough', says small business body
Thousands of small businesses will be "breathing a sigh of relief" that they are able to reopen from July 4 - and that date "can't come soon enough", the boss of a trade association has said.
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement today, encouraging the public to "support their local small businesses over the weeks ahead as more and more are able to reopen".
He added: “The new ‘one metre plus’ approach should help many to get back to business in a way that means they can turn a profit, particularly across the leisure and hospitality industries. But it will mean new costs for small firms as they invest in screens, face coverings, hand sanitiser and other protective measures. The Government should come forward with back to work vouchers to help businesses recover these costs."
But he urged the Government to consider more support, saying firms would see "already thin margins squeezed even further as they look to operate within the confines of the ‘new normal’."
Lockdown easement possible because 'plan is working', says Matt Hancock
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, has said the move to reopen the country is possible because "our plan is working".
Our plan is working.— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) June 23, 2020
Having protected the NHS & reduced the number of #coronavirus cases we can now carefully lift restrictions.
We must continue to protect our NHS & stay vigilant & stay alert.https://t.co/3Nn0FCPR3H
No change to two-metre rule in Scotland, Sturgeon confirms
So much for the UK Government's hope that the Devolved Administrations would fall into line after today's announcement.
Nicola Sturgeon has said the two-metre rule on social distancing will remain in place in Scotland, claiming she has not seen the evidence that today's move was based on.
Speaking at the Scottish Government's daily coronavirus briefing, the First Minister she will receive a report from Scotland's advisory group by July 2.
"Until then, the position here in Scotland remains the same. We are advising people to maintain two metres' physical distancing," she said. "Any changes announced today for other parts of the UK, while we will look at the evidence underpinning those very carefully, will not apply here at this stage."
The First Minister told the briefing she has not seen the scientific advice the Prime Minister's decision was based on.
She said: "I don't know if that will be published later on, we would be very interested in looking at it if it is published."
Wetherspoons boss hails plan to reopen pubs 'after long hiatus'
Wetherspoon chairman and arch Brexiter Tim Martin has welcomed the Government's plan to allow pubs to reopen.
He said: "We are extremely pleased that pubs are reopening on July 4 after a long hiatus.
"We are going to discuss the precise Government proposals with our pub managers and staff before we comment further on the details."
PM's plan 'hugely welcome', says UK Cinema Association
And there's more...
The UK Cinema Association has said plans to let cinemas reopen from July 4 are "hugely welcome, not just to cinema operators in England" but also "the many regular cinema-goers who can't wait to get back to enjoying the big-screen experience".
Phil Clapp, UK Cinema Association's chief executive, added: "We welcome in particular the acknowledgement implicit in today's statement of the work the sector has undertaken in reassuring ministers that cinemas in England can reopen safely for audiences and staff members alike.
"While discussions with the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland continue, today is undoubtedly a significant step forward for the UK cinema sector".
"The opening of cinema sites will be made subject to guidelines agreed between the UK Cinema Association and Government officials, to be published shortly".
UK Hospitality welcomes end of lockdown for sector
While MPs continue to grill the Prime Minister over his plans to restore the nation's freedom, industry representatives are responding enthustiastically.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade body UKHospitality, said: "Having confirmation of the reopening date is a real boon and affords businesses some time to make the necessary preparations.
"Our sector was one of the first to be seriously affected and we are going to be one of the last to reopen.
"Getting venues open again, even with social distancing measures in place, is the best way to secures businesses and jobs.
"While many venues will endeavour to reopen on July 4, capacities will be constrained by social distancing and some may be unable to trade viably at all, so continued Government support will remain crucial."
Boris Johnson tells Hove MP to 'show some guts' and encourage visitors back
Asked by Hove MP Peter Kyle what he will do to ensure tourist hotspots and "other pinch points" are kept safe, Boris Johnson says local representatives such as the Labour MP should "show some guts and determination, and champion those communities as venues for people to return to and support".
He says Mr Kyle can do that with confidence because the measures allow businesses to reopen while maintaining social distancing.
"That is the formula that I believe works," he adds.
Boris Johnson welcomes the end of Labour's 'long silence' on schools
Asked about theatres, Boris Johnson says Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is talking to those sectors "right now" to see how they can come back.
Asked by Labour's Dame Diana Johnson what public health message he is sending by opening pubs before schools, Mr Johnson says "it's only been possible before the summer break to open some classes, alas", but stresses England is ahead of some other countries in Europe.
But he welcomes "the logic" of what she asks, however, saying it "stops the long silence on the benches opposite".
Boris Johnson defends quarantine measures
Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 committee, praises the shift to common sense and the relaxation of many rules, but calls on the PM to introduce air bridges as soon as possible.
Boris Johnson says "every serious country that has got this disease under control has had to introduce quarantine for people coming into their country".
However, he points back to earlier comments about work being carried out to introduce air bridges as soon as possible.
Boris Johnson hails 'cluster busting techniques' to stamp out spikes
Boris Johnson has said there are two theories behind the emergence of coronavirus in meat packing plants, but admitted experts still do not know what has caused this spike.
He told MPs it could either be "the Cold environment in the plants" or "the possibility the staff are congregating" which allows the virus to spread more easily.
"We don't know what is it, but we are investigating," he says, adding that officials are using "cluster busting techniques to stamp them out".
Boris Johnson side-swipes tourist spots for 'not welcome here' signs
Asked if more support could be given to the tourism industry during the winter, Boris Johnson gave an implied criticism of the tourist spots in the UK who have urged people to stay away so far.
The Prime Minister says "now is the time to send out a welcoming signal to those from other parts of our country, to roll out the welcome mat, rather than the 'not welcome here' sign."
Welsh Government should rethink five mile limit, says Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson has said the Welsh Government should rethink its ruling that people may only travel five miles from their homes, telling MPs he did not think it was necessary.
Asked about his lack of contact with the leaders of the Devolved Administration, and the fact Mark Drakeford has "forgotten" what he looks like, the Prime Minister said he could not comment on the "blessed amnesia that has descended on the First Minister of Wales".
He stressed the four nations were "in much closer harmony" than suggested, but added: "There is one detail, one wrinkle, I am not sure five mile limit rule is entirely necessary and perhaps that needs to be rethought."
We need to get to the bottom of meat processing outbreaks, says Boris Johnson
Asked what work is being undertaken into what is happening in meat processing plants, Boris Johnson agrees, saying "we need to get to the bottom of what is happening".
Local lockdowns will be supported by central Government and the Joint Biosecurity Centre "so we can crack down very very efficiently on these flare ups as they happen".
The Prime Minister says he encourages people to "take advantage of the freedoms they are acquiring" but stresses they must be sensible.
"They want to see the frost leaving the tundra slowly," he says. "They understand the risks we still face... they've got to do it in a responsible way and observing social distancing."
Damian Green praises PM for saving 'hundreds of thousands of jobs'
Damian Green, former deputy prime minister, praises the PM for saving "hundreds of thousands of jobs" through his plan to halve the two-metre rule. He asks that all future rules be as clear as possible.
Boris Johnson says the easing of the lockdown is much more complex than the initial "stay home" message, but says the British people have shown "massive common sense" and he is confident they will continue to do so.
Prime Minister plans pub crawl of UK as hospitality reopens
Boris Johnson has told MPs of his plans for a mega pub crawl now that hospitality is reopening.
He said: "There is hardly an area of the country I don't intend to visit in the course of the reopening of pubs and hostelries of this country
"There is a massive opportunity now for our pubs, with all their inventiveness, to think of ways to make their premises Covid-secure," he adds, pointing to "unloved" spaces that could be used.
No end to lockdown for cricket, Boris Johnson confirms
Asked if he will order an urgent inquiry, Boris Johnson says it is not a good use of official time in the current environment.
Greg Clark, the chair of the Science and Tech Committee, asks if cricket will be allowed. Mr Johnson says the problem is that the "ball is a natural vector of the disease", and they are "still working on ways to make cricket secure".
'We will see future outbreaks', says Boris Johnson
Far from arguing that there will be no second wave, Boris Johnson says the Government is anticipating future spikes, saying: "We will see future outbreaks and we will be in a much better position now to control them", he tells MPs.
He agrees to publish the review findings, and then forgets what the last question was, but says the Devolved Administrations will be kept up to date with all decisions.
"We will be led by public health - that will be our criterion... we will have a policy on air bridges that is based on public health," he adds.
Ian Blackford snipes over 'grand pronouncements' from Government
The SNP's Ian Blackford strikes a different tone to the conciliatory one taken by Sir Keir Starmer. He points to the second spike in South Korea and says it is "vital that our collective efforts remain focused" on preventing that.
The public are now "well use to hearing grand pronouncements" from Boris Johnson "only to hear a U-turn a few days later", he claims.
Mr Blackford asks the Prime Minister to publish not just the conclusion but the full review of the two-metre rule. He also asks if the introduction of air bridges will be based on health rather than economic concerns.
Boris Johnson heralds Starmer for 'repenting' on schools
Responding to Sir Keir Starmer, Boris Johnson stresses the plan is backed by Sage and the two chiefs. He also commits to maintaining support for businesses and local councils, among others.
On track and trace, Mr Johnson says "no country" has a functioning app, but the "great success" of the current system is that 87,000 people have been contacted and voluntary self-isolated. "That is a fantastic success by our NHS test and trace operation," he tells MPs.
The Prime Minister also picked up on his counterpart's acceptance that it is safe for children to go to school, saying "I don't want to accuse him of a u-turn, but there is more joy in heaven of one sinner that has repenteth".
Labour welcomes Government's plan to leave lockdown
Sir Keir Starmer has welcomed the Government's plan to reopen huge swathes of the economy, saying he will "of course scrutinise" what has been announced.
"I believe the Government is trying to do the right thing, and in that we will support them," he says, noting there is a risk attached to any move, including "the risk of inaction".
The Labour leader notes that the changes businesses will have to make will be "complex" and costly particularly for small firms.
He also says he "completely supports" getting children back to school, making his first admission that he believes it will be safe for them to return. "We will support that, and my offer to work with the Prime Minister still stands," he adds.
Sir Keir says: "We do want more clarity but we welcome the thrust of this statement."
The full list of businesses that will remain closed for now
The following would be/remain closed by law: ·
Bowling alleys and indoor skating rinks ·
Indoor play areas including soft-play ·
Nail bars and beauty salons ·
Massage, tattoo and piercing parlours ·
Indoor fitness and dance studios, and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities ·
Swimming pools and water parks ·
Exhibition or Conference Centres - where they are to be used for exhibitions or conferences, other than for those who work for that venue.
Full list of businesses that can reopen from July 4
Here is the full list of businesses that can reopen from July 4, if they are Covid-secure and able to use the "one-metre plus" rule:
Hotels, hostels bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartments or homes, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks or boarding houses ·
Places of Worship ·
Libraries and Community Centres ·
Restaurants, Cafes and Workplace Canteens · Bars and Pubs ·
Cinemas and Bingo Halls · Theatres and concert halls [no live performances] ·
Museums and galleries ·
Hair salons and barbers ·
Outdoor playgrounds · Outdoor gyms · Outdoor skating rinks
Funfairs, theme parks and adventure parks and activities · Amusement arcades ·
Other indoor leisure centres or facilities, including indoor games, recreation and entertainment venues ·
Social Clubs · Model villages ·
Indoor attractions at aquariums, zoos, safari parks, farms, wildlife centres and any place where animals are exhibited to the public as an attraction
National restrictions will be reimposed if required, Boris Johnson says
But Boris Johnson warns about "flare ups" as the country reopens.
"We will not hesitate to apply the breaks and reintroduce restrictions, even at a national level, if required", he says.
The Prime Minister runs through the usual advice - wear a face mask, avoid public transport and work from home if possible. If contacted by tests and trace, you must self isolate.
But "today we can our long, national hibernation is beginning to come to an end" he says, adding: "the bustle is beginning to come back".
It would be all too easy "for that frost to return", he adds, which is why common sense and community spirit must "carry us through and see us to victory over this virus".
Places of worship to reopen and weddings can restart, says PM
Boris Johnson confirms that places of worship will reopen for prayer and services including weddings with a maximum of 30 people, all subject to social distancing.
Courts and other public services will increasingly resume face to face proceedings.
Wraparound care and formal childcare will restart over the summer.
Primary and secondary education will restart from September "with full attendance", he says, urging those pupils who can go to school to do so now "because it is safe".
He said: "Recreation and sport will be allowed, but indoor facilities, including changing rooms and courts, will remain closed and people should only play close contact team sports with members of their household."
Restaurants and pubs can reopen, Boris Johnson confirms
Restaurants and pubs will also open, Boris Johnson confirms, with cheers of "hallelujah" in the Chamber.
But it will be limited to table service, and contact details will be collected from customers. The Government will work with the sector to make this possible, he says.
"From July 4, provided that no more than two households stay together, people will be free to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation, including hotels and bed & breakfasts, as well as campsites as long as shared facilities are kept clean," he said.
Hairdressers will also be able to reopen, with appropriate measures including the use of visors.
"We also intend to allow some other close contact services, such as nail bars, to re-open as soon as we can, when we are confident they can operate in a Covid-secure way," he said.
“Close proximity venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools and spas will need to remain closed for now, as will bowling alleys and water parks," he said.
But taskforces are being established to help them become Covid-secure to reopen as soon as possible, and the same is true for live entertainment venues.
Two households can meet 'regardless of size', says PM
Boris Johnson says there is "only one certainty - the fewer social contacts you have, the safer you will be".
The Government's duty is to "guide the British people" while recognising the "natural desire" to return to normality.
Our principle is to trust the British public to use their common sense, remembreing the more we open up the more vigilant we will need to be, he says.
From now on, people will be asked to follow guidance rather than legislation.
From July 4, two households will be able to meet in any setting - indoors or out. They are not exclusive, so you can meet different people at different weekends.
But multiple households should not meet indoors "because of the risk of creating greater chains of transmission".
Two-metre rule to be dropped from July 4, PM confirms
The two-metre rule will be dropped from July 4, Boris Johnson confirms.
He says this rule makes certain parts of the economy all but impossible, which is why he asked experts to carry out a review. The results of that will be published later this week.
People will be advised to keep "one metre -plus" in places where two-metres are not possible.
Guidance such as avoiding face-to-face seating, using protective screens and providing hand sanitiser will be issued.
These mitigations will broadly mean that "one metre plus" will carry the same risk.
Boris Johnson: We do not believe there is a risk of second wave overwhelming NHS
Boris Johnson says the daily deaths peaked at 943 in mid-April, and yesterday the rolling average stood at 130.
More than 2.2bn items of PPE have been ordered from UK manufacturers, and yesterday 139,659 tests were conducted or posted, bringing the total to more than eight million.
"While we remain vigilant, we do not currently believe there is a risk of a second wave that will overwhelm the NHS," he says.
"All parts of the UK are now travelling in the same direction," he adds. "Thanks to our progress we can now go further and safely ease the lockdown in England."
But "caution will be our watchword", he adds, noting every step will be reversible.
PM offers condolences to families of victims of Reading attack
Boris Johnson begins his statement by sending condolences to the families of the three men who were killed in Reading on Saturday, describing the knife attack as "an act of wickedness" and "assault on our way of life".
He then turns to his new plan for lifting lockdown restrictions, saying the "cautious relaxation" so far has been "entirely conditional" of the country's defeat of the virus.
The number of new infections is now declining two-to-four per cent every day, he says. Just one in 1700 people have the virus, he notes.
Have your say: How will you use your freedom?
As is usual under social distancing restrictions, the Commons has been suspended while MPs file in and out for the next session - with Boris Johnson expected to unveil the biggest changes to the country's freedom since March.
If you haven't already, why not take our poll and let us know what's top of your list once your liberty has been restored.
Two doses of Oxford's coronavirus vaccine 'boosts immune response in pigs'
We will return to the Q&A with Vote Leave chief executive Matthew Elliott later this afternoon, but will just break away ahead of the Prime Minister's big speech in the Commons, which starts at 12:30pm, to bring you up to date with the latest on coronavirus.
And there is more good news: Two doses of a vaccine candidate created by UK researchers produce a greater antibody response than a single dose, a study in pigs has shown.
The ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford, is currently undergoing human trials and it is hoped an effective vaccine could be ready later this year.
Previous research indicated that macaques were protected against lung disease after a single immunisation.
Now the Pirbright Institute, working with the University of Oxford, has shown that two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine might produce a greater immune response in pigs and therefore be a more effective approach to developing a protective response.
In the study, researchers saw a marked increase in neutralising antibodies, which bind to the virus in a way that blocks infection.
It is not yet known what level of immune response will be required to protect humans against SARS-CoV-2.
Researchers said the finding in pigs is important as it suggests that two doses of the new vaccine could potentially give significantly more protection in humans than a single dose. But they said further research in humans is required.
Matthew Elliott Q&A: 'Brexit divisions have now healed'
It's been four years since the country voted in the EU referendum. The Telegraph's Politics Live talks to Vote Leave chief executive Matthew Elliott about the campaign for Brexit and what the future holds.
Did you have any inkling how complicated things were about to become, not just with negotiations but with the whole of the UK's political world? Did you think Remainers would accept they had lost and get on with it?
People forget that many people on the Remain side did accept the result, and there was a feeling in the Spring of 2017 that we needed to get on with Brexit and move on as a country.
But then the 2017 General Election happened and, although the Conservatives won, Theresa May lost her authority as PM, and those who wished Britain to remain in the EU sensed an opportunity to reverse the result.
That is the point where divisions really emerged.
It felt at the time like a very divisive period, and that sense continued for some years. Do you have any regrets about the way the referendum brought those feelings to the fore, or do you think those divisions were always there, just going unnoticed?
Britain's membership of the EU was such a seminal issue that it always was going to provoke heightened emotions on both sides.
I'm glad the European Election and General Election last year were so decisive. Brexit has had multiple mandates from the British public and it feels like the divisions have healed.
Matthew Elliott Q&A: Cameron's resignation caused 'muted atmosphere' at Vote Leave
What were your initial expectations of how things would pan out after the vote came in? Presumably it wasn't a surprise that David Cameron resigned, but did you expect that he would be replaced by Theresa May?
David Cameron was so adamant during the campaign that he wouldn't resign in the event of a Leave vote that his resignation did come as a surprise - hence the muted atmosphere at the Vote Leave press conference mid morning on June 24.
Once his resignation was announced, all the attention turned to the leadership election - it's amazing how quickly politics moves on.
Theresa May wasn't the favourite at the outset, but she was well positioned once Leave MPs failed to coalesce around one candidate.
Were there any signs that the relationship between Michael Gove and Boris Johnson would implode in the way it did? Did you always think Boris would end up as PM?
I expected that Boris Johnson would win the leadership election. After all, he had been a successful Mayor of London and had been the figurehead for Vote Leave - we couldn't have won the referendum without his support.
I was disappointed when Michael and Boris went their separate ways, but I'm very pleased Boris is now PM, with both Michael and Dominic Cummings playing such crucial roles.
Referendum anniversary Q&A with Matthew Elliott: The day 'the hard work paid off'
It's been four years since the country voted in the EU referendum. Politics Live talks to Vote Leave chief executive Matthew Elliott about the campaign for Brexit and what the future holds.
It's hard to believe the referendum was four years ago today - what were you doing this time then?
I got up very early on June 23 2016 to deliver leaflets reminding people to vote. The delivery was organised by Mark Wallace - now CEO of ConservativeHome - and we were joined by Alex Wild, who's now a Special Adviser in the Department for Justice. Just after lunch, I got the train up to Manchester, where the official count was to take place in its famous Town Hall, which felt very familiar, even though I hadn't been inside before, because it is often used as a backdrop for TV dramas about Parliament.
I was in Manchester with Gisela Stuart, who chaired Vote Leave, Alan Halsall, Chairman of Business for Britain, and MPs including Steve Baker, Graham Brady and Nigel Evans. It was a remarkable evening. When polls closed, the news bulletins indicated that Remain had won. But I remember Gisela telling me as the news came through, “They haven’t even begun counting the vote yet. I’ve been involved in many election counts, and I know it’s way too soon to write this one off.” And she was right.
We had been receiving reports on the turnout levels throughout the day, and the very high number of people turning out to vote indicated that something significant was happening. People who didn’t usually vote in elections were turning out to vote, and the data showed that they were more likely than not to support Leave.
We stayed up all night watching the results come in, and the broadcasters declared it for Leave just after 4:30am. Once Gisela had spoken to the assembled media, we hotfooted it back to London to join the team at Vote Leave’s HQ overlooking Parliament.
It had been a tough few years growing Business for Britain and then building Vote Leave, but it had been worth it. The hard work had paid off.
Cutting two-metre rule could increase risk on transport, unions warn
Reducing the two-metre social distancing rule on public transport could "increase risks", trade unions have warned.
It is widely expected that the coronavirus safety measure will be reduced to one metre following the publication of a Government review on Tuesday.
In a joint statement, unions Aslef, RMT and TSSA said: "The Government's own advisers have said that reducing social distancing to one meter will significantly increase the chance of infection by up to 30 times whilst the chances of Covid-19 spreading are increased in confined spaces such as train carriages and stations.
"It is also the case that the threat of infection from the virus has not changed significantly whilst at the same time we are already seeing increases in rail and Tube use which may further rise after July 4.
"Policing two-meter social distancing on public transport is already challenging and reducing it to one meter will make it almost impossible.
"In these circumstances diluting social distancing on public transport could increase risks so we cannot support a change to the social distancing measurement at the current time.
"We wish to see a safe and sustainable increase in public transport as soon as possible but not at the expense of worker and passenger safety."
Questions remain, but a week in the Med this summer is finally looking likely
It's not just domestic rules that are expected to change.
Although it might not be announced today, the blanket quarantine seems likely to be poised for the scrapheap once the review comes up on June 29.
While the Government holds us in suspense, read our analysis of what that means for you here.
Care staff 'bottom of the list' for antibody testing, MPs told
Care staff workers are "bottom of the list" to receive antibody tests, MPs have been told.
Jane Townson, chief executive at UK Homecare Association, said antibody testing had not been made widely available, despite promises it would be.
She told the Health and Social Care Committee: "Because testing capacity has been limited, home care has been at the bottom of the priority list so people receiving home care were never even on the list.
"At one stage care workers were told that they could all have tests but the practicalities of accessing them meant that it was very low levels.
"You mentioned about antibody testing, none of that has been available for home care.
"The pilots were all done directed at care homes, there's been nothing available for the large.
"Exactly the same number of people work in homecare as do in care homes, 685,000 people nationally, half the workforce, but it's been largely ignored.
MPs to grill hospitality sector about plans to restart industry
Just a couple of hours after the Prime Minister is expected announce the end of the UK's lockdown for much of the hospitality and leisure industries, MPs will take evidence on how prepared firms are for those changes.
The Defra committee will hear from representatives of UK Hospitality and JustEat about how changes to the two metre rule will affect pubs, cafes and restaurants from 3pm.
MPs are also trying to determine the impact of the lockdown on restaurants, cafés, pubs and the extended food supply chain. The session will also consider preparations for reopening to dining-in customers.
The 185 billion reasons why no politician should consider a lockdown again
As Boris Johnson turns the key again in the hesitant reopening of the UK economy today, the question he can expect to be asked repeatedly in the coming weeks and months is: was the lockdown worth it?
Analysis suggests the cost of saving 50,000 lives is being dwarfed by the economic hit, my colleague Russell Lynch argues. In fact, there are 185 billion reasons why no politician should consider a lockdown again.
These cities and counties had no confirmed Covid-19 cases last week - is yours one?
The Office for National Statistics has published more data showing that coronavirus is in retreat.
In fact, as my data viz colleagues have explored, some areas haven't had an official case of coronavirus recorded for nearly a month.
Is yours one? Use our postcode search tool to find out.
North East records lower-than-average death rates as coronavirus recedes
More details have emerged about the drop in excess deaths, further to my earlier post noting that Wales has recorded lower-than-average death rates for the week ending 12 June (9:52am).
According to Nick Stripe, the ONS' head of health analysis, this is not the only part of the UK to see these encouraging trends. It's also true in the North East, while London is only slightly above the five-year average.
Another interesting point that he makes is that the excess deaths in hospitals are now well below the five-year average - however deaths are higher in private homes and care homes.
Deaths remained below the 5-yr avg in hospital settings but above in private home settings— Nick Stripe (@NickStripe_ONS) June 23, 2020
"Excess" deaths in care home settings were 10% (199 deaths) above 5-yr avg levels. 369 of these deaths mentioned COVID on death certificates pic.twitter.com/zX6PvBagAr
Government names new Migration Advisory Committee chair
The Government has named the new chairman of a key advisory body on immigration, as it looks to usher in a new system after Brexit.
Professor Brian Bell, who is already the acting chairman of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), will move into the three-year role on July 1.
Prof Bell, an academic at King's College London who has previously worked at the International Monetary Fund and the Bank of England, has been a member of the committee since February 2018.
The previous MAC chair, Prof Alan Manning, had been critical of the Government's move towards a points-based immigration system, rubbishing it as a "soundbite".
He also noted that while he recognised politicians needed "cosmetic" means of presenting complex topics to the public, it was unclear what the government meant when it had repeatedly used the phrase.
The outgoing chairman said: "No perfect system exists and there are unavoidable, difficult trade-offs."
Social care staff not unskilled, MPs told
The Government's categorisation of social care workers as unskilled has come under fire during a committee hearing just now.
Mel Cairnduff, a social care worker with home care provider Agincare, told the Health and Social Care Committee that this shoule be revised.
She told MPs: "Some of the things that I do, we administer controlled drugs.
"Now nurses do that, I'm not a trained nurse but I have training so that I can do that and we do wound care.
"There's so many things that we do that nurses used to do but they just passed it onto the carers to do, but yet we don't get recognised and we're classed as unskilled."
Departments weren't working together, and didn't prioritise social care, MPs told
Government departments weren't working together properly, and did not prioritise social care, when the rates of coronavirus were rising, MPs have heard.
Marlene Kelly, the registered manager of the Auburn Mere Care Home in Watford, told the Health and Social Care committee that departments should work together better in the event of a second wave.
She said: "There were points where I was receiving three calls a week from three different departments asking me the same 10 questions. When you're dealing with multiple deaths then your focus needs to be on the people that you're supporting.
"It was just such an incredible waste of time and it wasn't a priority for us.
"It just seemed like no one was talking to each other."
Ms Kelly also told MPs that social care staff often leave the industry because "they can earn more in retail with less responsibility".
"People still see this as a job anyone can walk into, that you don't need to have anything special to do this work, but the truth is that isn't it. Most people do this job because it's their vocation."
Social care pay not reflective of value, MPs told
Social care pay does not "reflect the value" given by staff, and is a large factor in the high industry turnover, MPs have been told.
Sue Ann Balcombe, registered manager at the Priscilla Wakefield House Nursing Home in north London, told the Health and Social Care Committee: "There's a lot of responsibility that healthcare systems take on but the pay doesn't reflect the value that we give."
She added her home, which is mostly funded by the local authority or clinical commissioning groups, can only pay staff a minimum wage due to the amount of funding they get.
She told MPs: "It (paying only minimum wage) wouldn't be something that we'd consider if the funding was there to (make a pay increase) happen.
"But I do think there needs to be some value attached to that, so that we can recognise our staff and the hard work they do."
Social care staff 'underdogs and Cinderellas' compared with NHS, MPs told
We'll turn now to the Health and Social Care Committee, where MPs have been told that social care staff are the "underdogs and the Cinderellas" compared to the NHS.
Sue Ann Balcombe, registered manager at the Priscilla Wakefield House Nursing Home in north London, said: "I think the recognition that the NHS has as a professional body is not the same for social care.
"We're seen as the, sorry to put it this way, underdogs and the Cinderellas.
"I don't see that nurses get the same respect that nurses get in the NHS, yet they have a much more wide range of knowledge and skills."
Mrs Balcombe added that more recognition needs to be given to social care staff in addition to recently-launched Care badges.
She added: "It's the pandemic that's actually highlighted how much nursing homes and care homes do to support the community and also to support the local hospitals."
Excess deaths exceed 65,000 throughout the UK
There have been more than 65,000 excess deaths in the UK since the coronavirus outbreak began, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Today's figures, which show 59,252 excess deaths in England and Wales between March 21 and June 12, follow figures last week showing the equivalent numbers for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The National Records of Scotland found there were 4,877 excess deaths in Scotland between March 16 and June 14, while the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency put the figure for Northern Ireland at 972 excess deaths between March 28 and June 12. As noted earlier, Wales has actually recorded a lower-than-average weekly rate.
Together, this means the total number of excess deaths in the UK across this period now stands at 65,101.
Meanwhile the total number of deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK has passed 54,000.
'Creative' solutions can help hospitality work with social distancing rules
While publicans and restaurateurs are trying to work out how to operate in the new normal (sorry), one Sage adviser has suggested a few "creative" solutions such as positioning tables at 90-degree angles.
Dr Shaun Fitzgerald, a Government adviser and visiting Cambridge professor, told the BBC's Radio 4 Today programme: "There are lots of creative things people can do."
He also recommended turning off loud music in pubs so that people do not have to shout, wearing face masks, turning back-to-back where possible and orientating tables to minimise the risk of cross-contamination between social bubbles.
Wales' death rate falls below five-year average: ONS
There have been a couple of good pieces of breaking news this morning.
Firstly, and particularly welcome, Wales has recorded a weekly death rate below the five-year average for the first time in many weeks.
There were 14 fewer deaths than the five-year average for the week ending June 12, the ONS figures show.
In total, some 574 deaths were registered, of which 57 involved Covid-19, down 700 from the previous week.
And on the economic front, Britain’s private sector shrank less than expected this month as more businesses restarted work, putting the economy on course to return to growth from next month, a survey showed on Tuesday.
The IHS Markit/CIPS flash composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which measures activity in the services sector and manufacturing, jumped to 47.6 in June from 30.0 in May.
Ministers arrive for Cabinet meeting ahead of PM's lockdown announcement
Ministers are starting to arrive for the Cabinet meeting this morning, where they will rubber-stamp the Prime Minister's plan to reopen huge swathes of the hospitality and leisure industries.
Chief Whip Mark Spencer arrived at 10 Downing Street early, as did Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings.
We will hear from Mr Johnson at lunchtime today.
Weekly Covid death rate drops to lowest for nine weeks
There were 1,114 deaths which mentioned "novel coronavirus" in England and Wales in the week ending June 12 - the lowest number of Covid-19 deaths for nine weeks, the Office for National Statistics said.
The number of deaths involving Covid-19 continued to decrease across all English regions, but only the North East had fewer overall deaths than the five-year average.
Have your say: What's the top of your to-do list?
We are expecting to shortly hear confirmation that a swathe of different businesses will be able to reopen from July 4 after many months of lockdown.
More than a few ministers are clearly in need of a trip to the hairdressers, while others are eager to get to their local for a pint and a chinwag with their pals.
But what is the top of your to-do list? Have your say in the poll below.
Government hopes four nations will begin 'moving in lockstep' again
I'm just able to bring some more detail to the comments made by Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland Secretary, this morning that the decision about lifting lockdown would see a return to a UK-wide approach.
Clearly, as the coronavirus has moved through the UK, the nations have responded at different paces, with Wales and Scotland maintaining more restrictive measures for longer than England and Northern Ireland.
Although public health remains a devolved matter, it seems likely that things will return to more of a four-nations approach, with one source telling me there is renewed hope of "moving in lockstep" through this next stage. It sounds as though increasingly there will be a single strategy, with more local interventions to deal with hotspots and outbreaks such as the ones we saw in Wales yesterday. Of course, all that may change if the virus starts to spiral again.
I understand that First Ministers have been briefed about the plans ahead of Cabinet today. The rest of us will have to wait until 12:30pm to hear from Boris Johnson himself.
What's on the agenda today?
It's going to be a busy Tuesday, with the Prime Minister poised to reveal the details of "Super Saturday".
First up, Boris Johnson is convening his Cabinet from 10am, but he will set out the plans in the Commons from 12:30pm.
Before that, Matt Hancock and co are answering DHSC questions from 11:30am, with the session likely to include questions on cancer treatment, test and trace, and how the Government proposes to tackle outbreaks in the next phase.
And after the PM has spoken, Priti Patel will be answering questions about Windrush.
Then we will see Mr Johnson for a second time in one day, as he leads the Downing Street briefing from 5pm. He and the two chiefs will be grilled on the plans and what implications they have for public health, as well as the economy.
This evening MPs will vote on a new system for dealing with complaints of bullying and harassment - it feels a bit like a relic in the current environment, but of course may well prompt more revelations about the behaviour of certain individuals.
In committee land, front line social care staff give evidence to the Commons social care committee this morning on the challenges they have faced tackling Covid-19.
From 10am the Lords science committee will hear evidence on vaccine development, with witnesses including the lead researchers at the Oxford and Imperial College team
And this afternoon Justice Secretary Robert Buckland will give evidence to the Commons justice committee on coronavirus' effect on the courts and prison systems.
'Crazy' to reopen pubs and restaurants on a Saturday, says celebrity chef
Celebrity chef Anthony Worrall Thompson has said it is "crazy" to reopen hospitality from July 4, saying he is "panicking" about the prospect of reopening after three months.
The publican said halving the two-metre rule would help improve economies, but argued it was "very hard to plan" without guidelines for staff and customer safety. He also claimed that the biggest perspex supplier in the country had run out so it would be hard to procure more in time, if that is one of the stipulations.
There is also confusion about how staff can get food to customers without "breaking the one-metre rule", he said.
"It's a crazy day to do it," he told Sky News. "Everything else has been done on a Monday... we know the world goes absolutely mad and everyone wants to go out on Saturday
"If we started on Monday we could break in gently, iron out all the problems, get them right through the week," he added, noting that businesses were "not just lights, you can't just turn them on".
Minister challenged over lockdown decision timing
Brandon Lewis has been challenged on whether the decision to reopen huge swathes of the hospitality and leisure industry has already been taken.
As reported by the Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister will announce today plans to lift restrictions on cinemas, museums and galleries as well as pubs, restaurants and cafes.
Mr Lewis, the Northern Ireland Secretary, has been insisting throughout his broadcast round this morning that this decision is being taken during the Cabinet meeting, scheduled for 10am today.
In reality, it was actually taken during a meeting of one of the Covid-19 committees yesterday, a sub-group comprising just a select few of Boris Johnson's most senior ministers and the 'two chiefs' Sir Patrick Vallance and Sir Chris Whitty.
Asked if it was a political decision, and one which the CMO and CSA would not be able to prevent during today's Cabinet, Mr Lewis told the Today programme: "I will be listening to CMO and CSA in Cabinet and following that the Prime Minister will make an announcement."
Javid calls on Sunak to cut VAT and NICs
Sajid Javid has called for the Government to cut VAT and bring forward "shovel ready" infrastructure projects, arguing this is "only way out of this crisis is growth".
In a joint report with the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), a right-leaning think tank, Tory MP Mr Javid has called for national insurance to be given a "significant temporary" reduction to make it cheaper for employers to take on staff.
Writing for the Telegraph, Mr Javid said "hopes of a V-shaped recovery have faded.
"Bruised investor and consumer confidence as well as scarring effects from the deep recession may cause long-lasting damage to the economy. The longer lockdown continues, the worse this damage will be."
He joins fellow former Chancellor Alistair Darling in calling for an emergency VAT cut to boost consumer spending, a move undertaken by the Labour peer after the 2008 financial crisis.
The current incumbent Rishi Sunak is rumoured to be poised to make an announcement soon.
Celebrate drop in cases by 'being super careful', says WHO expert
The UK has to be careful as lockdown measures are eased, but the country has done well in bringing the number of coronavirus infections down, a World Health Organisation (WHO) expert has said.
Dr Margaret Harries told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The lesson is for people to understand this is the year of living differently.
"Not, 'OK, it's over'. You haven't just been let out of school.
"You have done well. You have really brought down your numbers. The UK has brought a very difficult outbreak right down.
"Very good news in the last couple of days about the limitation in cases, and far, far fewer people dying.
"So, now is the moment to celebrate that by being super careful."