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UK lockdown to ease from Monday allowing groups of up to six to meet outside, says PM Boris Johnson

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UK PM Boris Johnson
UK PM Boris Johnson   -   Copyright  Andrew Parsons/AP
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Groups of up to six people will be able to gather outside in England from Monday, says Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

It came as Johnson said the five tests for easing the country's COVID-19 lockdown had now been met.

The five tests include providing sufficient critical care to patients, seeing a sustained fall in daily death rates, having proof that the rate of infection is going down, being confident in testing capacity and PPE supply, and being confident that an adjustment to measures will not risk a second wave of the epidemic.

But the government warned that groups would have to continue to keep two metres apart from people outside their household.

"We still have a significant burden of infection," Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's Chief Scientific Adviser said, explaining that there are an estimated 54,000 new coronavirus infections per week.

The rate of infection or R number is currently under one, meaning that one person infects on average fewer than one additional person, but government experts said the rate of infection needs to decrease more before other restrictions are lifted.

England will also begin to reopen primary schools from Monday.

Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, said that two households can now meet outdoors as long as they stay at least 2 metres away.

Up to eight people will be allowed to meet in Scotland, but only from two households. People should also limit the number of households they meet to one per day.

The UK is the worst-hit country in Europe, with more than 37,000 COVID-19 deaths. The government introduced lockdown measures in late March.