Two-metre social distancing rule under review, PM says

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BORIS Johnson has insisted the two-metre social distancing rule is ‘under review’ after being challenged about the prospect of reducing it.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford asked questions about the science behind any reduction, something a group of Conservative MPs have been pushing for to help the hospitality sector.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Johnson told the Commons: ‘I believe that those measures, the two-metre rule, need now be kept under review.

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‘As we drive this disease down, as we get the incidence down, working together, I want to make sure we keep that two-metre rule under constant review.’

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty ImagesPrime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
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But Mr Blackford added: ‘We know that the Cabinet has discussed reducing the two-metre social distancing rule but that's not the experts' advice right now.

Sage reported that being exposed to the virus for six seconds at one metre is the same as being exposed for one minute at two metres.

‘That is a significant increase in risk.’

Mr Johnson replied: ‘There are all sorts of views about the two-metre rule, he's absolutely correct in what he says about the Sage advice.

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‘But clearly, as the incidence of the disease comes down, as I think members of Sage would confirm, the statistical likelihood of being infected - no matter how close or far you are from somebody who may or may not have coronavirus - goes down.’

Labour MP Vicky Foxcroft (Lewisham Deptford) earlier asked the PM to support a ‘safe-hour walk’ for shielded people, something adopted by other countries, and to review the furlough scheme to ensure shielded people are ‘not penalised’.

Mr Johnson replied: ‘We certainly will be doing as much as we can in the near future to ensure shielded people get guidance about how they can come out of their shielded environment safely, in a way that is Covid-secure.

‘On her point about furlough, it's a very important one and clearly newly-shielded people may be asking themselves whether they are entitled to furlough funds.

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‘I've been made aware of the issue very recently and I can assure her that we will be addressing it forthwith.’

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