Outdoor reunions could return under plans to ease Covid-19 restrictions

People enjoying their exercise in Christchurch Park during the lockdown in Ipswich. Picture: SARAH L

Outdoor family reunions could be allowed within weeks - Credit: Archant

Outdoor family reunions could be allowed within weeks under the government's road map for easing coronavirus restrictions.

As Boris Johnson spends the weekend finalising plans for the country's route out of lockdown, Downing Street said it wanted to make social contact easier as soon as possible.

Several newspapers reported that new rules allowing two households to meet outdoors - regardless of the total number of people - are set to be introduced from April, while six people from six different households would also be able to gather.

People make the most of the mild weather for their daily exercise in Christchurch Park Picture: SA

Christchurch Park in Ipswich - Credit: Archant

Schools look set to reopen to all pupils from March 8, with both primary and secondaries said to return in just over three weeks.

Care home residents will be allowed to hold hands with a regular indoor visitor from March 8 under the government's plans to ease restrictions. 

Visitors will be required to take a coronavirus lateral flow test - which gives quick results - before entry and personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn.

Health secretary and MP for West Suffolk Matt Hancock said he was "pleased" that it would soon be possible for people to be "carefully and safely reunited with loved ones who live in care homes".

Health secretary Matt Hancock recognised 'long Covid' at the parliamentary health and social care co

Matt Hancock said he was 'pleased' with the news about care homes - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

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The prime minister has also been urged to allow pubs to reopen as soon as possible after it was revealed beer sales in pubs dropped by 56% in 2020, a decrease of £7.8 billion, due to the pandemic. 

Mr Johnson will set out the blueprint for relaxing measures in England on Monday - the final details of which will be agreed at a meeting of the "Covid O" committee today. 

The prime minister will then chair a meeting of his cabinet on Monday, before announcing the plans to the commons later that afternoon.

He is expected to lead a Downing Street press conference that evening alongside England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty and scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.

The relaxation comes amid a backdrop of promising data suggesting coronavirus infections are dropping across the UK.