UK PM unveils ‘limited’ easing of lockdown

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has unveiled some “limited” and “cautious” easing of the country’s coronavirus lockdown measures.

Chairing Thursday’s Downing Street daily briefing, Johnson said that from June 1, nurseries and schools will reopen, first to Reception, Year 1 and Year 6, reports Xinhua news agency.

A fortnight later on June 15, secondary schools will begin to provide face-to-face contact time for Years 10 and 12, said Johnson.

Outdoor retail and car showrooms will start to open from June 1 and other non-essential retail will open on June 15, he said.

Also starting from June 1, up to six people will be able to meet outdoors, providing members of different households continue to stay two meters apart, said the Prime Minister.

Hoping that the government will be able to do more in returning the country to a more normal life, Johnson warned that “this is all conditional” based on the scientific data confirming that these actions are safe.

There could be further local outbreaks and the brakes will be put on as required and where necessary, he noted.

Earlier in the day, the British government officially launched the test and trace system in England as part of the efforts to contain the pandemic.

To break the chain of transmission, people in England who has been in close contact with someone who has been infected with COVID-19 will be asked from Thursday to isolate for 14 days even if they have no symptoms.

So far, the UK has reported 270,508 COVID-19 cases, with 37,919 deaths, the highest number of fatalities in Europe.