Boris Johnson calls for 'heavy dose of caution' as hugs, holidays and indoor hospitality resume amid Indian covid variant fears
Boris Johnson has called for a “heavy dose of caution” as indoor socialising and physical contact resumes against the backdrop of concerns over the Indian coronavirus variant.
The Prime Minister said “now everyone must play their part”, as England pushes ahead with the third stage of the road map out of lockdown on Monday.
Pubs and restaurants will be able to welcome customers back indoors, household visits will resume and the foreign holiday ban will end.
Hugs and other physical contact between households will be permitted for the first time since restrictions began more than a year ago.
But the measures are being eased as top scientists warn of a “perilous moment”, with the Indian variant feared to be as much as 50% more transmissible than the Kent strain.
In a statement, Mr Johnson said: “Together we have reached another milestone in our roadmap out of lockdown, but we must take this next step with a heavy dose of caution.
“We are keeping the spread of the variant first identified in India under close observation and taking swift action where infection rates are rising.
“The current data does not indicate unsustainable pressure on the NHS and our extraordinary vaccination programme will accelerate – with second doses being bought forward to give the most vulnerable maximum protection.
“But now everyone must play their part – by getting tested twice a week, coming forward for your vaccine when called and remembering hands, face, space and fresh air.
“I urge everyone to be cautious and take responsibility when enjoying new freedoms today in order to keep the virus at bay.”