Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a loosening of Britain’s coronavirus lockdown rules but faces a rebellion from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland about supposed mixed messaging.
From Wednesday, people in Britain will be allowed to spend as much time as they want outside and travel to work if they cannot work from home, providing social-distancing measures are followed and the rate of COVID-19 re-infection stays below one.
“We want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise,” Mr Johnson said in an address from Downing Street.
“You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports but only with members of your own household.
“You must obey the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules we will increase the fines for the small minority who break them.”
Britain has been in lockdown since March 23. It limited people to one form of exercise a day and allowed them to leave home only for essential goods and medicine.
Mr Johnson said those who could not work from home would be urged to return to work, preferably by car, bicycle or walking, rather than public transport.
“Anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction and manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work,” he said.
All schools and non-essential shops would remain shut in Britain until at least June, Mr Johnson said. Some parts of the hospitality industry would not open until at least July.
“We have been through the initial peak – but it is coming down the mountain that is often more dangerous,” Mr Johnson said.