FAMILIES will finally be able to hug a grandparent this weekend, Boris Johnson announced tonight.
The PM revealed a new plan for ‘support bubbles’ for single people living alone to help them cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
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In the latest lifting of lockdown rules, people who have been living alone for weeks will be able to bubble up with one other household from Saturday onwards.
The PM said tonight: “There are too many people, particularly those who live by themselves who are lonely and struggling with being unable to see friends and family.
“From this weekend we will allow single adult households, living alone, or single parents with children under 18, to form a support bubble with one other household.”
They will be able to hug, go into each other’s homes, and even stay overnight. They won’t have to stay 2m apart and can act as if they live in the same home.
They don’t have to move in together but can do if they wish, or travel between each other’s homes.
Single people will include anyone who lives alone – but also include single mums or dads with any number of kids under the age of 18.
Tonight’s news included:
- Couples who have been living apart alone will finally be able to meet up – and have sex again too
- But people who are shielded should not form bubbles with others if they are clinically extremely vulnerable
- The rules will apply in England only from Saturday
- Scientists warned of a second deadly wave to hit in the winter
The new lockdown changes are thought to affect around to 8.2 million people across the country.
However, single people will have to pick just one household to visit – which could include the heartbreaking choice of which children or grandchildren to see.
They won’t be able to hop in and out of multiple homes.
If any member of that support bubble develops symptoms, all members of that bubble will need to follow that advice on household isolation, which is to self isolate for 14 days.
If others develop symptoms they should be tested too.
Officials stressed earlier that the policy was separate to the rules which allow people to meet up in groups of six outside their own household in a park or garden – as long as they were two metres apart.
People won’t have to give the details to the Government of which people they are seeing, and the new rules will rely on the public to be sensible.
Sources said the changes were to help single people who have largely been on their own throughout the pandemic.
By allowing them to bubble up – including helping with childcare – it will provide them with extra support in such tough times.
The move is designed to give parents help with childcare by allowing grans and grandads to look after grandchildren.
But No10 acknowledged that the plans will not help everyone and insisted it was just the latest stage in the journey back to normality.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “It’s not something that’s going to help everyone – we accept that but we have to take cautious steps.
“There’s a particular concern around people who have been living home alone or those lone parents who have not been able to have support with childcare.”
The new rules will not be policed. The PM’s spokesman said: “It will be taken on trust and as you’ve seen already the public have shown great responsibility – they’ve understood what we’re trying to do which is stop the transmission of the virus and I think people understand the need not to to spread this virus between multiple households and of course what people don’t want to do is pass this on to a loved one or a friend.”
It means that a grandmother who lives alone would finally be able to hug her grandchildren again if they formed a bubble.
Or a single mum would be able to share childcare and spend time inside their house with another single parent or friend.
The Government has been looking at the bubble policy for months to see if it can help provide some easing to the lockdown rules.
But as the R rate continues to teeter above one in some areas, there were fears that allowing large groups of people to mix would start to spread the virus quickly again.
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