The 60-page roadmap taking England out of lockdown includes specific dates on when you will be allowed to hug.

According to BBC Breakfast hugging should be allowed ‘as soon as possible, no later than May 17’.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “That’s right and that’s the same date at which you’ll be able to travel and stay overnight.

“That’s in Step Three, which is obviously five weeks after the step two changes.”

He added: “We know that close contact is how this disease is passed on and so the reason for that timing is by then all of the most vulnerable groups will have been able to have two jabs.”

He added: “We do want to be cautious until the most vulnerable groups have had both of those doses.”

Mr Hancock also explained exactly what the new lockdown lifting rules for England mean about when you can meet with friends and family.

Rules will begin to change from March 8, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday, when you will be allowed to meet with one person at a time outdoors for socially distanced socialising.

The rules will then change again every five weeks – if the coronavirus infection, hospitalisation and death rates continue to fall.

The next big change will come on March 29, when the rules change from ‘stay at home’ to ‘stay local’.

People will then be allowed to take part in non-essential travel.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast today, Mr Hancock said: “On March 29 there will still be a guidance to stay local and by law you will not be able to stay overnight elsewhere or go on holiday domestically for instance unfortunately

“But we are able to make that first step so that we have the Rule of Six or two households outdoors and whereas previously we just had the Rule of Six we are proposing the Rule of Six or two households so that large households for instance or two families with two kids can see each other – but outdoors because we know that outdoors is safer than indoors.”

He added: “We will then get to the position where people can go and stay overnight… I hope that we can get there by the middle of May as proposed in the roadmap.”

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