What was said about re-opening of pubs at today’s Downing Street briefing

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People will have to carefully consider how they travel to outdoor spaces as lockdown restrictions are eased - and should preferably avoid a pub visit on the way, one of the UK's top medics has said.

While being outside - where the virus does not survive as long - is generally safer, people's actions and how they get to their destination will be important, England's deputy chief medical officer said.

Acknowledging lots of people are keen to get back to the pub, Dr Jenny Harries said that not going is the best way to reduce the risk of catching and spreading Covid-19.

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An update has been given on pubs re-opening after lockdownAn update has been given on pubs re-opening after lockdown
An update has been given on pubs re-opening after lockdown

She and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick were asked at today’s daily Downing Street briefing whether mass gatherings would likely be allowed to resume before pubs are permitted to reopen.

Mr Jenrick said the fact that the virus's rate of transmission is ‘significantly less’ outdoors will be a factor to be considered in any easing of the lockdown.

But he said adding in public transport makes it ‘a more complex picture’.

Dr Harries said mixing with friends and others outside your household in a small environment like a pub would not be a good idea.

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She explained: “If you go as a family unit and sit in one place and you've got the same exposure there that you would in your house at home, that's probably quite a safe environment.

“If you go with a whole load of friends that you haven't seen from before the coronavirus lockdown, sit in a pub in a very small environment, lean well over each other on the table and stay there for some hours face-to-face, that's really not a good thing to do.”

She said another potentially high-risk activity is people travelling in cars with others outside their family unit.

Dr Harries added: “'Don't go to the pub on the way' is probably the one to reduce your risk, although I recognise that everybody is wanting to do that.”

Earlier this week her colleague, fellow deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the virus would come back unless a ‘painstaking’ approach was taken in easing the lockdown.

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