Coronavirus map LIVE: Lockdown to ease as millions permitted to mingle in ‘clusters’ | UK | News

The arrangement could see families reunite with relatives and close friends in “clusters” for the first time in weeks. It would give household units an opportunity to share childcare and would permit people to gather for meals and other activities at home. A Whitehall source told the Daily Mail: “If we can find a way to allow a bit more flexibility without risking transmission of the disease running higher then we will do it.”

On Friday Health Secretary Matt Hancock said ministers would not be prepared to ease the lockdown until they were certain a second wave of coronavirus was unlikely.

Speaking to BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, Mr Hancock said: “I understand those voices who are saying we should move sooner but that is not something we are going to do.”

His comments come as the public have been urged to stay home ahead of the fifth weekend since the Government implemented the lockdown.

Photos this week showed crowds flocking to parks and seafronts to enjoy the high temperatures.

Forecasters have predicted warm conditions for most of the country over the weekend, prompting concerns about the “danger” that people may defy the restrictions on movement which began on March 23.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has not ruled out granting police additional powers to enforce lockdown measures.

On Saturday she is expected to condemn those ignoring the ban on travel.


8.53am update: Germany’s cases rise by 2,055 to 152,438

Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 2,055 to 152,438, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday – a second day of deceleration after three days of acceleration in new infections.

On Friday confirmed coronavirus cases had increased by 2,337.

The reported death toll rose by 179 to 5,500, the tally showed on Saturday.

8.42am update: Reaction to Dominic Cummings attending SAGE meetings 

Labour has called for greater transparency about Sage – which is helping shape the Government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak – after it emerged Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings had been attending meetings.

The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) is a forum for “thorough scientific discussion amongst the experts”, the medical director of NHS England has said.

Professor Stephen Powis told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “My experience of Sage is that it is a forum for scientific discussion.

“It is the experts from a variety of backgrounds who discuss the evidence, they discuss the evidence base of the various topics, they come to conclusions around that evidence base. It is then, of course, the role of Sage to advise the Government.

“I have been confident that what happens at Sage is a scientific discussion involving the scientists and the experts who are members of Sage.

“Very familiar territory for me – the sort of scientific discussion I have been very, very used to in my career as a doctor and a scientist. A thorough scientific discussion amongst the experts.”

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