Thu, 17 Jun 2021

LONDON, May 11 (Xinhua) -- People in Scotland will be able to hug and meet in each other's homes from Monday next week as the region continues to ease COVID-19 restrictions, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced Tuesday.

Most of Scotland will move to Level Two restrictions, which will also allow pubs and restaurants to sell alcohol indoor, according to Sturgeon.

"I actually feel a wee bit emotional saying this... from Monday, as long as you stay within permitted limits, you can hug your loved ones again," she said.

However, the first minister said it was "vital to be cautious".

A "more fundamental review" of physical distancing will be carried out in the next three weeks, which will look at whether there can be further relaxations in places like pubs and restaurants, according to the BBC.

Scotland has five levels of COVID-19 restrictions. The whole region hopes to move to Level One on June 7, then to Level Zero on June 28 -- before returning to "something much more like normality" over the summer.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed Monday that the lockdown in England will be further lifted from next week.

From May 17, pubs, bars and restaurants in England will be permitted to open indoors, while indoor entertainment will also resume, including cinemas, museums and children's play areas, he said.

People in England will be allowed to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 people, and meet indoors in groups of up to six or as two households.

All remaining accommodation including hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen from next Monday, according to Johnson.

More than 35.4 million people have been given the first jab of the coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest official figures.

Experts have warned that despite progress in vaccine rollout, Britain is "still not out of the woods" amid concerns over new variants, particularly those first emerged in South Africa, Brazil and India, and the third wave of pandemic on the European continent.

To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Russia, the United States as well as the European Union have been racing against time to roll out coronavirus vaccines.

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