In what is the most significant return to normal yet since the coronavirus began, Britain’s alert level has dropped from a four to three.
This is a symbolic move for the country as level three marks the gradual relaxing of restrictions and social distancing measures.
Consequently, the current 2m rule could shift to just 1m and follow in the footsteps of China, Denmark, France, Hong Kong, Lithuania, and Singapore who are already doing so.
Schools in Northern Ireland are also already ahead of the curve, cutting the 2m rule down to 1m so that all children can return to classes.
The reason for introducing level three is because the R-rate (i.e. transmission rate of the virus) is no longer high or rising exponentially, says Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty.
He agreed to downgrade the alert level after a continuing decrease in cases.
Despite the shocking UK figures, which have seen over 42,000 reported deaths, the number of new cases per day sits at 1,218 at the time of publication – at its peak, there were over 6,000 new infections on some days.
Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “The UK moving to a lower alert level is a big moment for the country.
“It is a real testament to the British people’s determination to beat this virus.
“The government’s plan is working. Infection rates are rapidly falling, we have protected the NHS and, thanks to the hard work of millions in our health and social care services, we are getting the country back on her feet.”
Now, the eyes of the British remain fixed on those pub doors and when they can reopen.
It was previously hoped that July 4 would see the revival of the hospitality industry, though with the new level three in place it could even be sooner.
However, a statement issued by the government’s medical advisers is keen to stress that we still need to remain alert and not consider this pandemic “over”.
The statement read: “It does not mean that the pandemic is over. The virus is still in general circulation, and localised outbreaks are likely to occur.
“We have made progress against the virus thanks to the public and we need the public to continue to follow the guidelines carefully to ensure this progress continues.”
Back in May, Boris Johnson revealed the five levels of the coronavirus traffic light system as part of a gradual easing of the lockdown.
Both level four and five called for strict social distancing which saw the country in lockdown; meanwhile level two will see no or minimal social distancing measures, along with enhanced testing, tracing, monitoring and screening; and level one will involve routine international monitoring with COVID-19 considered to be absent from the UK.