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Lockdown further eased in England as groups allowed to meet outdoors

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A woman enjoys spring weather in Green Park as lockdown continues in London, Tuesday, March 23, 2021
A woman enjoys spring weather in Green Park as lockdown continues in London, Tuesday, March 23, 2021   -   Copyright  Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP Photo
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England will further ease its third lockdown by allowing outdoor gatherings and sports to start as cases decrease in the country.

From Monday, two households or groups of no more than six people will be allowed to meet outside, including in private gardens, as the country's stay at home order is lifted.

Outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, will also reopen and people will be allowed to take part in sports practice.

The UK's restrictions, in place since early January, drove down infections to around 5,000 a day after reaching daily highs of more than 50,000 new cases in late December.

Meanwhile, more than 30 million people in the country have already received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, although just 3.5 million people have received both doses.

The massive vaccination campaign has helped to reduce hospitalisations and deaths, officials have said, with even a first dose of the vaccine protecting against severe illness.

At a press conference earlier in the month, health officials said that a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine reduced the chance of getting the disease by 60% and reduced the chance of hospitalisation by 80%.

The UK government said back in February that they would begin easing lockdown in March, with non-essential shops and hairdressers set to reopen from April 12, if conditions allow.

The government has said that they hope to offer a vaccine to all adults by July and that by the end of June, they hope to lift all legal limits on social contact.

Officials insist that they will hit their vaccination target despite a potential reduction in vaccine doses.