Lockdown support bubbles: Who you can and can’t meet explained

·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK

Boris Johnson has announced new “support bubbles” in his latest easing of the coronavirus lockdown.

From Saturday, some people will be allowed to spend time inside another household for the first time since the lockdown was imposed in March.

Following the prime minister’s announcement, Yahoo News UK explains what people can and can’t do.

Who do the bubbles apply to?

Only adults living alone, or single parents with children under 18, will be allowed to form a support bubble with one other household.

This means bubble “members” can spend time in each other’s homes and don’t need to follow the government’s two-metre social distancing guidance while doing so.

Can people change their bubbles?

No. Johnson said they must be “exclusive”, meaning people can’t switch households or connect with multiple households.

Are bubbles safe?

The government thinks so, as it says the UK is meeting its “five tests” for easing the lockdown.

These are the NHS being able to cope; a sustained fall in daily deaths; the rate of infection decreasing; a good supply of tests and personal protective equipment (PPE); and being confident any adjustments would not cause a second wave of infections.

What if someone in a bubble develops coronavirus symptoms?

Everyone in the bubble must follow the standard NHS advice on going into self-isolation.

What is the rationale behind the bubbles?

Johnson, speaking at the daily coronavirus press conference in Downing Street, said: “I know how difficult the past months have been for people cut off from their friends and family.”

Despite the rules being relaxed on people meeting outdoors on Monday last week, the prime minister said that “there are still too many people, particularly those who live by themselves, who are lonely and struggling with being unable to see friends and family”.

The PM added: “It is a targeted intervention to limit the most harmful effects of the current social restrictions.”

Boris Johnson announced 'support bubbles' as part of his latest easing of the coronavirus lockdown. (BBC)
Boris Johnson announced 'support bubbles' as part of his latest easing of the coronavirus lockdown. (BBC)

What about people who don’t live alone or aren’t single parents?

Johnson warned the same rules still apply: “It is emphatically not designed for people who don’t qualify to start meeting inside other people’s homes because that remains against the law.”

What about people who are shielding?

“Unfortunately,” Johnson said, “we cannot advise anyone who is shielding to form a support bubble at this stage given their particular vulnerability to the virus.”

The PM promised more information will be shared next week about arrangements that will be in place from the end of June.

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