Hugging loved ones may get the green light by June 21 ending more than a year of the heartbreaking consequence of social distancing, it has been reported
Officials are said to be confident they will be able to relax the rule, with hopes that all over-50s will have had both vaccine doses by that date.
It comes after England’s deputy chief officer Jonathan Van-Tam urged the public to hold on “a teeny bit longer” as the vaccination programme has its effect.
People are currently allowed to meet outside under the rule of six or two households outside, such as in a beer garden.
Indoor contact will start again on May 17 but again the rule of six people or two households will apply.
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The government said it would review then whether it can ease restrictions on contact further.
But the source told the Telegraph it was likely people would be told it was safe to hug by June 21 as the most vulnerable have had their jab.
He said: “From May 17 people will be able to meet indoors, and by June 21, we would expect that the vast majority – and hopefully all – those in priority groups one to nine [all over-50s] will have had both doses.
“The thinking is that by this point people would be safe to hug, and that it then comes down to a matter of individual judgment.”
June 21 is currently the date set for the last step of the government’s roadmap to exiting lockdown and when all legal limits on social contact are hoped to be lifted.
It comes after Prof Van-Tam said during a briefing at Downing Street on Wednesday that he is “highly confident” it would be “incredibly safe” for two fully vaccinated people to meet without social distancing, as is already happening in the US.
But he said the reason why that hasn’t happened in England yet is because of young people still waiting to be vaccinated, while ministers said “we move as one” as the country exits lockdown.
It was on Wednesday reported that up to seven in 10 of adults have now been found to have coronavirus antibodies, an expert said.
An Office for National Statistics (ONS) testing survey revealed 68.3 percent of people in England have virus-fighting proteins, as of the week ending April 11.