BORIS Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown will mark another huge milestone tomorrow with the return of casual sex, drinking with pals inside and hugs with loved ones.
But there are fears further unlocking on June 21 could be delayed – amid concerns about the alarming spread of the new super-infectious Indian mutation.
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May 17 will mark the biggest step out of lockdown so far after the PM revealed 11 Covid lockdown changes at a press conference from Downing Street last week.
But just days later, he warned a full end to restrictions on June 21 may have to be halted. It comes as it was revealed the new mutation is up to 50 per cent more transmissible than the Kent strain.
And this morning, Matt Hancock said the Government won't reveal plans for ending social distancing and mask-wearing until June 14.
There are currently no plans to change the scope of tomorrow's unlocking.
Under the new rules, Brits will be able to meet inside – still following the rule of six or two household restriction.
Hotels and B&Bs will reopen, and would-be holidaymakers dreaming of a sunshine break will finally be able to take overseas trips.
Indoor entertainment and attractions are also set to open up – and groups can head to the pub and sit inside.
MUTATION FEARS COULD DELAY ROADMAP
Indoor exercise classes will reopen, while those looking for a more relaxed trip out can finally head to cinemas and museums.
Theatre and concert performances – along with sports events – will also start to allow 1,000 people, or 50 per cent of the venue's capacity – whichever is lower – to start again.
Under the rule change, weddings and receptions will be able to go ahead with 30 people.
The rules are different for funerals. Rather than having a strict limit, the capacity will be determined by how many people places of worship or funeral homes can safely have inside while mourners are social distancing.
A small number of countries have been added to the UK's 'green list' – meaning quarantine isn't necessary upon a return to the UK.
They include Israel, Singapore, Portugal, the Falkland Islands, Ascension, St Helena, Tristan da Cunha, Gibraltar, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Brunei.
And New Zealand and Australia are also on the list – but they have their own entry requirements and are unlikely to let in tourists at the moment.
France, Greece and Spain are not yet on the green list – meaning Brits will have to wait until at least June 7 to find if they can go on holiday there this summer.
Tomorrow's easing is the most significant yet.
On April 12, pubs, gyms, salons and non-essential shops opened for the first time in 114 days.
But the weather has been largely terrible since – meaning boozers and people desperate to head out for dinner are likely to breathe a sigh of relief that they can sit inside instead.
Under current plans, masks in shops and offices are heading for the chop on June 21.
Social distancing will also end.
Masks on trains and buses remain an option but possibly without the fines to enforce the measure.
But the UK's 'freedom day' may face setbacks amid the spread of the variant, expected to become the most dominant in the UK.
Professor John Edmunds of Sage said there's a possibility Boris Johnson may need to row back on the unlocking of the UK if cases of the mutation continue to surge.
'NOTHING RULED OUT'
He told the BBC's Andrew Marr: "I don't think we should rule anything out.
"If things get worse rapidly, action needs to be taken."
However, Professor Adam Finn of the JCVI – the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation – was more upbeat.
He told Sky's Sophy Ridge: "It's difficult to be very definite about this particular variant.
"One piece of reassuring news is we've seen is consistently good protection against severe disease with vaccines and viruses so far.
"I am cautiously optimistic that will continue to be case also with this version of the virus."
Under the first phase on March 8, schools reopened, and on March 29, the rule of six was reintroduced, allowing six people or fewer – or two households – to mix outdoors.
Shops, gyms, hairdressers and other non-essentials opened across the nation last month, with pubs, restaurants, cafes reopening and serving customers outside.
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