Government could overrule scientific advisers to relax two-metre social distancing rule as Boris Johnson urges people to return to shops

The government could overrule its scientific and medical advisers to relax the two-metre coronavirus social distancing rule, the chancellor has said – as Boris Johnson urged Britons to head back to the shops.

Rishi Sunak pronounced on Sunday that “advisers advise ministers, who are elected to make decisions” after he was asked whether it would be politicians or senior experts like Sir Patrick Vallance and Chris Whitty who would have the final say on what was safe.

Senior figures within the Conservative Party and business lobby groups have been urging the government to relax the rule for fear it could make reopening their premises unprofitable, but Labour warned that the government should follow the science and ensure that workplaces are safe before people return.

It comes as a further 36 deaths from coronavirus were recorded on Sunday, taking the total to 41,698. The total is among the highest of any

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Masks and social distancing work, new analysis finds

Masks and social distancing can help control the coronavirus but hand washing and other measures are still needed, a new analysis finds.

Researchers concluded single-layer cloth masks are less effective than surgical masks, while tight-fitting N95 masks provide the best protection. A distance of 1 meter (more than 3 feet) between people lowers the danger of catching the virus, while 2 meters (about 6 1/2 feet) is even better.

Eye protection such as eyeglasses or goggles can help too. None of the strategies work perfectly and more rigorous studies are needed, according to the analysis published Monday.

With the coronavirus still new, health officials have relied on studies involving its cousins, severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome. The findings come from a systematic review of 44 studies, including seven involving the virus causing COVID-19. The remaining focused on SARS or MERS.

“This puts all that information clearly

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In the subsequent couple of months, similar national policy roundtables are rolling out in the other … Read More