Ministers considering easing lockdown measures to allow people to meet up outdoors, No 10 says

Ministers are considering whether to relax coronavirus lockdown measures in order to allow people to meet up outdoors, Downing Street has said.

Ahead of a lockdown exit "road map" being revealed by Boris Johnson on Sunday, his spokesman said certain "easements" were being considered in some areas, while restrictions could be "toughened" elsewhere.

The spokesman said outdoor gatherings would be considered at a review on May 7 - six weeks since lockdown was imposed - due to evidence around transmission.

Asked about a suggestion by Nicola Sturgeon that people in Scotland could be allowed to meet up with “small defined groups” outdoors, the spokesman said: "Broadly the scientific and medical experts have been clear that there is is less likelihood of transmission of this disease outdoors than indoors.

Meetings outdoors of more than two people are currently not allowed and police have been dispersing gatherings. Credit: PA

“That will obviously be something we are considering as part of the review.”

But ahead of the review the prime minister posted a video saying easing the rules now would be the "worst thing we could do".

In the video message on Twitter he said the UK could only move to the "second phase of this conflict" once the "five tests" had been met.

On May 5 First Minister Sturgeon said the easing of lockdown could involve members of separate households being able to meet up in a "sort of bubble".

She said meetings could be allowed between a "small, defined group of people" even if initially it was "only possible out of doors and not indoors".

Credit: COBR

She also said she had been considering how to "allow exercise outside to happen more than once a day".

But Downing Street has said no restrictions will be relaxed until the government is certain a second peak of the virus can be averted.

"We need to be guided by scientific advice and by that key consideration which is that we cannot do anything which we believe would lead to the R – rate of transmission – going above one," the spokesman said.

“We would have to ensure that any steps that we take don’t risk a second peak which might overwhelm the NHS and throw away all of the sacrifice that has been made by the British public so far.”

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