England’s coronavirus “sex ban” is set to end for some couples from this weekend, under new rules announced by Boris Johnson.
From just after midnight on Saturday, people who live alone will be able to stay overnight with their partner for the first time since the lockdown began more than 11 weeks ago.
The new system of “support bubbles” will also allow single parents and isolated grandparents to visit and stay with family members as if they are in the same household, without any two-metre social distancing.
The rules – aimed at ending social isolation for all age groups – mean that, as well as couples or friends separated by the virus being able to freely visit each other, some children and grandchildren will be able to hug their parents and grandparents for the first time in weeks.
“Single adult households,” defined as either people living alone or lone parents living with children under 18, will be able to freely visit one other household under the revised rules.
The rules – which will kick in at one minute past midnight on Saturday morning – won’t however apply to couples who each live in shared households, or to children who want to visit parents who live in a couple.
If any member of the new “support bubble” shows symptoms of coronavirus, everyone in both households will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
And to avoid new chains of transmission of the virus, support bubbles have to be exclusive, and cannot be switched with different or multiple households.