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Lockdown review could ease restrictions to allow people to meet outdoors

PUBLISHED: 21:00 05 May 2020 | UPDATED: 21:00 05 May 2020

Lockdown restrictions could be eased for outdoor activities, Downing Street has indicated. Picture: Getty Images

Lockdown restrictions could be eased for outdoor activities, Downing Street has indicated. Picture: Getty Images

Getty Images

Lockdown restrictions could be eased for outdoor activities, officials have indicated as the UK’s declared death toll from coronavirus passed Italy’s.

The grim milestone was reached as official figures showed the death toll was more than 32,000.

Despite the mounting human cost of the pandemic, ministers are confident the UK is past the peak of the outbreak and have begun drawing up plans for the eventual lifting of the restrictions imposed to stop the spread of coronavirus.

MORE: UK coronavirus death toll rises above 32,000 to highest in Europe

Ministers are considering whether to relax coronavirus lockdown measures in order to allow people to meet up outdoors, Downing Street has said.

Meetings outdoors of more than two people are currently not allowed and police have been dispersing gatherings. Picture: Denise BradleyMeetings outdoors of more than two people are currently not allowed and police have been dispersing gatherings. Picture: Denise Bradley

Ahead of a lockdown exit “road map” being revealed by Boris Johnson on Sunday, his spokesman said certain “easements” were being considered in some areas, while restrictions could be “toughened” elsewhere.

The spokesman said outdoor gatherings would be considered at a review on May 7 - six weeks since lockdown was imposed - due to evidence around transmission.

Asked about a suggestion by Nicola Sturgeon that people in Scotland could be allowed to meet up with “small defined groups” outdoors, the spokesman said: “Broadly the scientific and medical experts have been clear that there is is less likelihood of transmission of this disease outdoors than indoors.

“That will obviously be something we are considering as part of the review.”

MORE: Three more coronavirus deaths at Norfolk’s hospitals

Speaking at the daily Downing Street briefing on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab warned “we need to be under no illusions, the next stage won’t be easy”.

He added: “If we are going to protect life and preserve our way of life, we must continue to be guided by the scientific advice we receive and make sure that the next steps we take are sure-footed and sustainable.”

Five tests for adjusting coronavirus lockdown. Picture: COBRFive tests for adjusting coronavirus lockdown. Picture: COBR

But he said ministers wanted “to make sure that the next phase is more comfortable, is more sustainable and prevents lasting damage to jobs and livelihoods”.

Mr Raab also said ministers are looking at sports being played behind closed doors in the second phase of the coronavirus response.

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