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Raab says ‘review’ to be completed within “coming weeks”

Published:  15 June, 2020

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has said the government expects the next Covid-19 review, including if the 2 metre social distancing rule will be reduced, to be completed “within the coming weeks”. 

At this afternoon’s briefing, Raab reiterated that PM Boris Johnson had commissioned a "comprehensive review" of the 2 metre rule, adding it would “look at how it works in practice; the scientific evidence. We will try and learn as much we can from the international experience, which differs of course".  

And in the meantime, he said, "I think our messages, as shops reopen, are it is very important to emphasise that people must continue to keep 2 metres apart wherever possible and following our guidance, we expect the review to be completed within the coming weeks and we'll be able to say more then”.

When asked about what reassurance the government can give to the hospitality sector that it will be able to re-open, he answered: “We have always said that in terms of bars, restaurants and others in the hospitality sector we will look at taking further measures. If you look back at the roadmap, we said that would at the earliest be 4 July, and so the review of the 2 metre rule will inform that."

But, he added, "we want to get those bars, restaurants, and all of those businesses up and running as soon as we can do so, but it's got to be done in a safe and responsible way". 

In order to do this, he said, "we need to have a review and to look at the latest evidence. We need to make sure we are gauging the progress that we've made". 

“We have seen progress across pretty much the entire UK in getting a hold of the virus, bringing it down. If that continues, if we find that the measures that we have already taken, including today, can be done in a careful way that we don't see the virus spike back up again, I think we will be in the strongest position to give relief and reassurance to the hospitality sector," he added.

“But we have got to make sure we proceed in a careful sure footed way. We don't want a second spike. That would be bad for public health, bad for the economy. It would be bad for public confidence so we're sticking to the roadmap, but we are making progress, and if we continue to do so hopefully sooner rather than later we can provide some reassurance and some further guidance to that sector.”