Easing lockdown: How social ‘bubbles’ could work when rules are relaxed

Britons could be allowed to reunite with loved ones using "bubble" arrangements under proposals to ease the lockdown.

Ministers are looking at ways of letting people meet up with friends and family when lockdown restrictions are eventually eased.

Under the arrangements, people will be able choose a small number of friends and family to mix with, outdoors for the time being, and will be under strict orders not to mix with anybody else.

People could also be allowed to leave their homes more often and for longer periods of time.

The proposals are being considered by the government to introduce a "new normal" to the way Britain operates socially.


When will social bubbles be introduced?

The ease in restrictions are not expected to take place just yet as the government continues to adhere to scientific advice to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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In Italy, where the trajectory of coronavirus cases and deaths has been similar to the UK's, families and friends were able to reunite as of Monday after some lockdown restrictions were eased.

More than 4.4 million Italians also went back to work after seven weeks.

Italy's COVID-19 outbreak is around two weeks ahead of the UK's.

Image: Domenico di Massa plays with his granddaughter Cecilia for the first time in two months in Italy

How will social bubbles work?

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who is involved in UK-wide decision-making through the COBRA system, unveiled a document explaining the potential new rules.

Lockdown measures look set to be eased - but some fear a second spike in cases
Image: Lockdown measures look set to be eased in the coming weeks

She suggested there could be a change in the rules to allow "meeting up with a small defined group" of other people in a "sort of bubble arrangement".

The number of people they can mix with has not been decided yet, but they would not be permitted to mix social bubbles.

People walk in the sunshine in Victoria Park, east London on April 25, 2020, during the national lockdown due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. - Boris Johnson's government on Saturday was embroiled in a political row after it emerged his chief advisor attended meetings of the main scientific group advising ministers on the coronavirus pandemic in Britain. Downing Street was forced to deny that Dominic Cummings and another advisor, Ben Warner, were members of the politically independen
Image: People will be allowed to leave the house more often under the new measures

This could mean some family members and friends will have to face tough choices deciding which bubble they want to be a part of.

The Scottish government paper said: "We are considering if and how we could make changes to allow people to meet with a small number of others (the number is under consideration) outside their own household in a group or 'bubble' that acts as a single, self-contained unit, without connections to other households or 'bubbles'.

The prime minister's official spokesman also confirmed the possibility of easing restrictions outdoors was under consideration among ministers.

He also highlighted evidence showing "there is less likelihood of transmission of this disease outdoors thaRead More – Source

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