In what is being billed as the biggest return to normality so far this year, all three countries will allow residents to enjoy indoor dining at pubs and restaurants under the “rule of six” from tomorrow. They will also be able to meet indoors in private homes, as well as at cinemas, museums and other venues. Groups up to 30 will be able to meet outdoors in the new easing of restrictions too.
Scotland’s Prof Jason Leitch warned revellers to be “cautious and careful” when rules change, using the current outbreaks in Glasgow and Moray as examples of the virus not being over.
The country’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced last week both areas would have to remain in stricter level 3 restrictions due to spikes in Covid cases, including detection of the highly contagious Indian variant, while the rest of Scotland advanced to level 2.
After the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) concluded there is a “realistic possibility” the Indian variant is 50 per cent more transmissible than the deadly Kent variant, experts with the advisory body urged caution in the easing of rules.
“If we are following data not dates, it is surprising that the road map is going ahead without adjustment,” Sage’s Prof Susan Michie told the Sunday Times.
Ministers did however have some good news over the weekend, as Matt Hancock and Nadhim Zahawi revealed that 20,103,658 people across the UK have now had both doses of a Covid jab. “It is inspiring to see the incredible public response to our call to arms to get the jab,” vaccines minister Mr Zahawi said earlier.