UK’s Johnson eases lockdown as furore over aide rumbles on

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LONDON: The coronavirus lockdown will ease next week for most of Britain’s population, Boris Johnson announced yesterday, as a row persisted over the prime minister’s closest adviser taking a long-distance journey during lockdown.

In England, up to six people will be able to meet outside and schools will gradually reopen from Monday, Johnson said at a news conference where he was again challenged over his aide Dominic Cummings’ decision to drive 400 km (250 miles) during lockdown.

“These changes mean that friends and family can start to meet their loved ones, perhaps seeing both parents at once or grandparents at once,” he said, adding that outdoor retailers and car showrooms would also be able to open from Monday.

“You could have meetings of families in a garden, you could even have a barbecue provided you did it in a socially distanced way, provided everybody washes their hands, provided everybody exercises common sense.” Johnson stressed that the changes were “small tentative steps forward”, and health experts warned the situation remained finely balanced with new cases declining, but not very quickly. —Agencies

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