Covid: 'Good chance' one-metre plus social distancing will end in June, says Boris Johnson

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers

Boris Johnson has said there is a "good chance" the one-metre plus social distancing policy will be end in England on 21 June.

The prime minister has already laid out a roadmap for ending Covid restrictions in the summer but there were suggestions some rules may need to remain for longer.

“As things stand, with the vaccine rollout going the way that it is – we have done 50 million jabs as I speak to you today, quarter of the adult population, one in four have had two jabs," the prime minister said while campaigning in Hartlepool.

What changes could be made to restrictions on May 17 and June 21? Dan Rivers explains

“You are seeing the results of that really starting to show up in the epidemiology.

“I think that we will be able to go ahead, feels like May 17 is going to be good.

“But it also looks to me as though June 21 we’ll be able to say social distancing as we currently have to do it, the one-metre plus, I think we have got a good chance of being able to dispense with the one-metre plus from June 21.

“That is still dependent on the data...but that’s what it feels like to me right now.”

The one-metre plus rule was put in place last June to allow people to meet up as long as other measures were also adhered to.

Last month, Government scientific advisers said the public should be able to remove face masks over the summer as vaccines do the heavy lifting in controlling Covid-19 – but they cautioned that masks and possibly other measures may be needed next autumn and winter if cases surge.

Foreign holidays could be allowed for people living in England from May 17 at the earliest. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

Mr Johnson said he feels like the next stage of reopening on May 17 – which covers indoor hospitality, entertainment and possibly foreign travel – “is going to be good”.

Asked if people should be planning foreign holidays, he told reporters: “We will be saying more as soon as we can.

“I think that there will be some openings up on the 17th, but we have got to be cautious and we have got to be sensible and we have got to make sure that we don’t see the virus coming back in.”

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It comes as the EU revealed plans to reopen its borders to holidaymakers from countries with low virus rates by the start of June.

An EU official said the UK may be on the list of countries that are deemed to enter the bloc. The individual, who was not authorised to be quoted because the proposal has yet to be adopted, said Israel would definitely be on the list.

Matt Hancock has also expressed certainty over a “great British summer” ahead.

In a video posted on Twitter, he said: “The UK vaccination programme has just delivered its 50 millionth vaccine.

“I want to say a massive thank you to everybody involved – the NHS of course, the scientists, the Armed Forces and the council personnel who’ve helped so much, and the volunteers who brought a real spirit to this programme.

“Seems like only yesterday that Margaret Keenan was getting the first clinically authorised vaccine in the world and now we’ve delivered 50 million.

“And this is so important of course because it is a life-saving vaccine that helps protect you, helps protect those around you, and it is our route out of this pandemic.

“And it’s because of the vaccination programme that we’re able to keep going down this road map, and I know we’re going to have a great British summer.”