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Sunak: Britain to urgently review distancing rule

Sunak reviewing coronavirus distancing rules

Britain will urgently review its two-metre social distancing rule as it tries to help the economy recover from a 25% crisis collapse, finance minister Rishi Sunak said.

Progress in tackling the coronavirus meant Britain was able to take a “fresh look” at the rule, which many employers have said will make it harder for them to get back up to speed, Sunak said on Sunday.

“The prime minister has put in place a comprehensive review of the two-metre rule. That review will involve the scientists, economists and others,” he said, adding that all of this would not put safety at risk by any changes.

Reducing the distance that people must maintain to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus would mean three-quarters of pubs could reopen, rather than about one third with a two-metre rule in place.

Sunak also said last week’s data showed a quarter shrinkage in Britain’s economy over March and April “just laid bare the scale of the economic impact” of the lockdown.

“We have always known that was going to happen, but now the numbers are starting to show that,” Sunak said.

The immediate shock to the economy from the lockdown would prove temporary and this week’s reopening of the retail sector was an important step for the recovery.

The hospitality sector will follow, he added.

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