Hugging friends and family will be allowed from May 17, UK cabinet minister Michael Gove declared on Sunday.
He said that prime minister Boris Johnson was set to confirm the relaxation of covid restrictions at a Downing Street press conference on Monday.
So grandparents are finally going to be ‘allowed’ to hug their grandchildren.
However, according to one expert Prof Cath Noakes people need to take precautions when hugging others. Hugs should be selective, short, and avoid face-to-face contact she said
Mail Online reports: The major step will be a huge relief to grandparents, most of whom have been unable to hug grandchildren for more than a year.
It is also expected that funerals will be permitted to take place for up to 30 people from May 17 – a month earlier than anticipated.
But rules for weddings and ‘other life or commemorative events’ will update as expected, with only 30 guests able to attend indoor receptions until June 21.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Gove said that the government wanted to restore ‘contact between friends and family’.
He said: ‘All being well, the Prime Minister will confirm tomorrow that there will be a relaxation, we’ve already indicated a proportionate relaxation on international travel, very limited at this stage because we have to be safe.
‘In the same way, as we move into stage three of our road map it will be the case that we will see people capable of meeting indoors.
‘And without prejudice to a broader review of social distancing, it is also the case that friendly contact, intimate contact, between friends and family is something we want to see restored.’
Asked if that meant hugs will be allowed again from around May 17, he said: ‘Yes.’
Mr Gove said he was ‘genuinely worried’ about Indian coronavirus variants and whether they might take hold in the UK. But he said currently there was not an issue that would derail the roadmap.
He said the Government is reviewing whether pupils should continue to wear masks in schools from May 17 – something Gavin Williamson previously said will be dropped.
Ministers have faced calls from union leaders for face coverings to remain in secondary schools and colleges for longer.
When asked whether mask-wearing in schools will end, Mr Gove said: ‘What we want to do throughout is balance public health by making sure we can return to normal as quickly as possible.’
‘I won’t pre-empt that judgment, we’ll be seeing more about it shortly.’
Meanwhile, the head of the Oxford University vaccine group said he believed it is the right time to ease further restrictions in England.