For the first time since lockdown began in March, it seems like it may be the beginning of the end of Britain’s “national hibernation” – as long as the daily coronavirus death toll continues to fall.
Boris Johnson announced that families and friends who have been kept apart can reunite – but they can’t celebrate their reunion with hugs and kisses.
Parts of the north of England are the only exception. A partial lockdown was reinstated for Greater Manchester, Bradford, Blackburn and other areas on July 30, banning indoor meetings involving different households as coronavirus cases reached worrying levels.
Outside partial lockdown areas, the changes to measures allow two households of any size to meet indoors on the condition that they continue to observe social distancing, now reduced to one metre’s distance where necessary.
People can now stay overnight at other addresses and two households are also allowed to go on holiday together in shared accommodation or neighbouring tents.
But it may be important to factor in the new and extended 10-day self isolation period the Government announced on July 30, which extends the previous seven-day quarantine period for those who have tested positive with Covid-19.
New research has suggested that symptoms could continue to appear seven-to-nine days after contracting the virus, which means transmission could be more likely when sharing a hug if its within that time frame.
Can I get coronavirus from hugging?
At the beginning of the pandemic, no one would have expected hugs to be at the top of people’s list of major deprivations. But after months of social distancing and isolation, loved ones are desperate to give one another a good squeeze.
Covid-19 spreads in a similar way to the flu or the common cold, in large droplets produced by coughs and sneezes, hugging, even those that last less than 10 seconds, gives the “social virus” an opportunity to migrate from person to person and lives on surfaces for several hours.