PM Boris Johnson has said that groups of six people can meet from Monday in a relaxation of lockdown rules for England.
Speaking at the daily Downing Street briefing, Johnson emphasised that lockdown changes would be limited.
“I cannot and will not throw away all the gains we’ve made together and so the changes we’re making are limited and cautious.
“It’s thanks to the caution you’ve shown so far that all five met are being met.
“The result is that we can move forward with adjusting the lockdown in England on Monday.”
People can meet in gardens and private outdoor spaces, provided they keep two metres apart, Mr Johnson announced.
“These changes mean friends and family will start to meet loved ones,” in what would be a “long awaited and joyful moment,” he added.
Johnson said that people should “try to avoid seeing people from too many households in quick succession” to help “avoid the risk of transmission from lots of different families.”
He said that, despite the slight relaxation of rules on meeting people outside, those deemed most vulnerable to Covid-19 should continue to shield themselves for now.
It came as a further 377 people have died with coronavirus across all settings in the UK, according to daily figures released on Thursday.
The total number of deaths in and outside of hospitals is now 37,837, the Department of Health said.
The Prime Minister also warned that the government would “put on the brakes” if infections begin to increase again.
Earlier today, Nicola Sturgeon announced that the first “cautious” steps out of the lockdown would begin in Scotland tomorrow.
People will now be allowed sunbathe in parks and play some outdoor sports, bringing the rules in line with England, where restrictions were eased earlier in May.
At the Downing Street news conference, Boris Johnson was once again asked by journalists over the breaching of the lockdown by his senior adviser, Dominic Cummings.
He continually emphasised that he regarded the matter as over, and that the public wanted to hear more about what his government was doing over the coronavirus pandemic.