Hugs with friends and family and overnight stays finally back from May 17

The Prime Minister has given the go-ahead for people to start hugging loved ones again and staying overnight in other people’s houses from next week.

Social distancing rules are being relaxed as the country’s Covid infection rate remains low but people are being told to ‘act responsibly.’

Those in England have had to keep at least 1.5metres away from anyone they don’t live with throughout the pandemic, meaning hugs have been effectively banned.

But people will finally be able to embrace their close friends and family again from Monday as part of the next stage of lockdown easing.

Everyone is still being advised to keep 1.5metres away from strangers. 

The PM said everyone should ‘use their personal judgement’ when it comes to who they think it is safe to hug.

The public should decide their own levels of ‘risk for their own circumstances’, taking into account things like whether they have had both doses of the vaccine or whether they have been tested for the virus recently.

Earlier a scientist advising the Government said, although more hugging is good for people’s well-being, people should not start acting like the pandemic is over.

Dr Mike Tildesley, from the University of Warwick, said people should ‘act responsibly’ when restrictions are lifted.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘I think it’s actually very important for our mental health and wellbeing that we can hug our loved ones, but to me the key message is, if and when this comes in, we need to remember that the pandemic hasn’t gone away.

‘We are still a few steps away from normality, so it’s really great that we can hug our loved ones, but what we need to remember is we need to be a little bit careful.

‘So, again, do it responsibly – if people have symptoms, if you have particularly vulnerable relatives, maybe do this with caution.’

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