Experts tell Sage the UK must continue to remain two metres apart

Britons must continue to follow two-metre social distancing rules, experts tell Government scientific advisers amid fears dropping to one metre could carry up to 10 times the risk

  • Boris Johnson is facing calls to halve the two-metre distancing rule in the UK
  • But the EMG revealed this could lead to ten times as many COVID-19 infections 
  • The risk of outdoor transmission of the virus in Britain is currently low
  • Reducing the rule to one-metre could allow pubs and restaurants to reopen

The UK must stick to the two-metre social distancing rule as reducing it to one-metre could increase the risk of infection tenfold, Government advisers have been warned.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing calls to halve the recommended contact distance in order to allow businesses such as pubs and restaurants to reopen.

However, the Environmental and Modelling Group (EMG) revealed that the public should stick to the current advice, even though the chances of outdoor transmission of the virus can be relatively low. 

The Government’s scientific advisers have been told to keep the social distancing rules at two metres (pictured) 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing calls to cut down the rule to one-metre, which the Environmental and Modelling Group (EMG) revealed could lead to 10 times as many infections in the UK

Reducing the rule to one-metre could allow businesses such as pubs (pictured) and restaurants to reopen, which would boost the economy

In a paper to the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) on June 4, the EMG wrote: ‘Given the uncertainties about transmission and dose-response it is not possible to say with certainty what a safe distance of separation is but best current evidence suggests that one metre carries between two and 10 times the risk of two metres of separation.

‘Countries that specify a separation distance below two metres generally mandate other mitigation measures, usually face masks or face coverings as a minimum.

‘Outdoor transmission remains low risk through aerosol and indirect contact routes, but face-to-face exposure should still be considered a potential risk for transmission via respiratory droplets

‘However we remain of the view that face-to-face transmission could be possible and the ability for wind to keep droplets airborne means that we recommend that people continue to observe a distance of two metres when face to face and avoid prolonged exposure to other people.’

The World Health Organization (WHO) currently recommends a one-metre social distancig rule, which has been followed by several countries including France, Singapore and Denmark. 

The World Health Organisation currently recommends a one-metre distancing rule which has been adopted by some countries 

A snap YouGov revealed the majority of Britons want the two-metre rule to remain in place 

Earlier this week, MPs revealed fears that tens of thousands of businesses could go bust if a two-metre rule remains in place. 

Business Secretary Alok Sharma claimed that businesses will want to take a look at the two-metre rule ‘for economic reasons’, while Chancellor Rishi Sunak also held a meeting with the 1922 committee of Tory backbenchers on Thursday calling for regulation to be scrapped in order to kickstart the economy.

A snap YouGov poll taken on the same day revealed that 58 per cent of Britons want the two-metre rule to remain in place, with 24 per cent want it halved.

The PM gave an indication on Friday that the two-metre rule could be relaxed soon today as figures showed the UK economy in freefall with a record 20.4 per cent decline in April.

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