Details on next stage of England's lockdown loosening and two-metre rule review to be announced

Video report by ITV News Science Editor Tom Clarke

Details on the next stage of the coronavirus lockdown being eased in England are expected to be announced on Tuesday.

After meeting with scientists and ministers on Monday to discuss the loosening of measures, the prime minister is expected to announce the most significant changes to the lockdown since it began.

The government is thought to be considering whether to either allow groups of up to six people to meet indoors, or letting two households form a bubble, which would mean they could meet up indoors and stay overnight.

It could mean that in England, holidays could again become a possibility.

The two-metre social distancing rule is also expected to be reduced to one-metre, to make re-opening easier for businesses.

Another of the announcements expected on Tuesday is detailed guidance on how hairdressers, pubs, bars and restaurants can gradually start to re-open from July 4.

Boris Johnson is also expected to announce that cinemas, museums and art galleries will be able to begin re-opening their doors from next month, with information on how they can welcome back visitors issued.

It could mean cinemas and museums introducing one-way systems, spaced queuing, increased ventilation, and pre-booked tickets to ensure people can return safely.

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston says that while England is gradually returning to some semblance of normality, we will still be a long way from "life as we know it"

Speaking ahead of the prime minister's address to the House of Commons, a Number 10 source said: “We are only able to move forward this week because the vast majority of people have taken steps to control the virus.

“But the more we open up, the more important it is that everyone follows the social distancing guidelines.

"We will not hesitate to reverse these steps if it is necessary to stop the virus running out of control.”

Details of the review were being finalised at meeting on Monday evening attended by the government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, and the chief medical officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty.

The two-metre social-distancing rule is expected to be eased Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA

Mr Johnson will then brief the Cabinet on the plan for England on Tuesday morning before setting out the details in Parliament.

Earlier, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Government was able to act now because the numbers of new coronavirus cases, admissions to hospital, and deaths from the diseases were all continuing to fall.

He told the daily No 10 briefing that just one-in-1,700 people were now infected with the virus, compared to one-in-400 a month ago.

“All these figures are coming down and pointing in the right direction.

"It shows that while there is still much to do, we are clearly making progress,” he said.

However, Dr Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer for England, said that even as the rules were eased people still needed to follow social distancing, including regular hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene.

“There is a critical point here that says just because life is feeling a bit more back to normal don’t suddenly jump to where you were this time last year. We need to learn to go forward with restrictions in our lives,” she said.