Brits could be allowed to meet up with 10 of their closest family or friends under one idea to relax the coronavirus lockdown.

It is understood that the UK government is considering letting people socialise outside of their households in small “bubbles” as it plans an exit strategy.

The move would widen the current “stay at home” advice to include meals and other social activities with close relatives and friends.

It would also mean couples who do not live together can spend time together.

However, people would only be able to nominate one or two households to be part of their “cluster”, and would not be able to mingle with anyone else.

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The move would ease the current “stay at home” advice

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It comes after Nicola Sturgeon today said the Scottish government is looking at the proposal as one possible way to relax restrictions.

But the First Minister warned if the idea does happen, “it’s got to be the same people day-to-day, week-to-week” to prevent Covid-19 being passed on more widely.

The idea is also being considered by the UK Government, Mail Online reports.

A Whitehall source told the paper: “If we can find a way to allow a bit more flexibility without risking transmission of the disease running higher then we will do it.”

Brits could be allowed to socialise in “clusters”

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Similar plans are also being considered in Belgium.

Scotland’s government has gone further than UK officials in laying out how lockdown might eventually be eased.

Yesterday Ms Sturgeon published a 26-page document saying outdoor activities might resume, and businesses may reopen if they can keep customers and staff 2 metres apart.

The First Minister also suggested schools could reopen with modifications needed in some classrooms.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has refused to comment in detail on the plan for the whole of the UK.

But today he said Ms Sturgeon’s plan was “essentially a reiteration” of his own five tests of when lockdown can be relaxed.

Those five tests are: the NHS able to cope; a sustained fall in deaths; infections dropping to ‘manageable’ rates; adequate testing and PPE; and no risk of a second peak.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed the idea today

Ms Sturgeon told BBC Radio Scotland no decisions have been made on such a “bubble” arrangement.

But she said she wants to have an open conversation with the public about the way forward.

Ms Sturgeon said: “I know from my own parents who are not seeing their grandkids just know, I understand the anguish of that.

“We’re all missing seeing our loved ones so we all want to get beyond that as quickly as possible.

“Every country is going through these decisions, none of us are through this pandemic yet, but some countries are starting to look at slightly expanding what people would define as their household – encouraging people who live alone to maybe match up with somebody else who is on their own or a couple of other people to have almost kind of bubbles of people.”

She added: “And the key thing there is, if you’re seeing maybe one or two more people outside your household, it’s got to be the same people on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis so you’re still limiting the ability for the virus to transmit.

“Now, none of these are fixed decisions yet, but these are all the kind of things we’re trying to work through.

“What we’re trying to do is to do is, how do we get a semblance of normality back into our lives because the lockdown – it is essential that people stick with it just now – but it’s having consequences of its own.”

Brits could be allowed to socialise in “clusters”

The First Minister said any easing of the lockdown will be gradual and life “will not be normal for some time to come”.

Lockdown has the potential to return multiple times if the virus spikes again.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock today said the key factor in easing lockdown will be speed with which number of new cases reduces.

Once lockdown is eased, the key factor in keeping it that way will be a “test and trace” programme.

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Coronavirus outbreak

Some 18,000 officials are being recruited to monitor any contacts with the virus, with the help of an NHS app.

Mr Hancock said this programme could allow the UK to “hold down” the number of cases with “fewer restrictions”. But he refused to say what areas of society might open up first.

Ministers have previously said pubs and restaurants will be among the last to reopen, with schools expected to be among the first.



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