Fresh hope Brits with Covid jabs can hug and ditch social distancing by summer

Hugging your loved ones could be Covid safe by the summer, government scientists said.

Life is edging back to normal as seven in ten adults in England now have coronavirus antibodies, according to official statistics.

One in four have had both jabs fuelling hopes that all lockdown rules will be ditched by June 21, the Sun reports.

Dr Mike Tildesley, from the University of Warwick and a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) group said people will be able to be close to another person, such as a family member, if both have been vaccinated.

He told Times Radio: "I think this is really difficult because of course, in a sense, this becomes more of a sort of a political decision rather than an epidemiological decision because we have been told that on June 21 all of these legal limits on contact will be removed, but it's still unclear exactly what that means.

"Whether that means that on that date some social distancing will be in place or whether all of those will be removed and you'll be able to go and hug your loved ones.

"I think the key thing is that if you're both vaccinated, of course, it does reduce the risk of anyone becoming severely ill and my hope is that as we move towards that June date, we will be in a position that we can not just see our loved ones, but also we can hug our loved ones because it's been a very long time since we've been able to do that."

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Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England (PHE) added: "Vaccines are vital in helping us return to a normal way of life.

"Not only do vaccines reduce the severity of illness and prevent hundreds of deaths every day, we now see they also have an additional impact on reducing the chance of passing Covid-19 on to others."

The Office for National Statistics data on Wednesday revealed that adults in the North West have the highest levels of antibodies in the country, and the North East has the lowest.

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The findings come as the nation is set to further loosen lockdown rules on May 17.

At present pubs are open outside and all non-essential shops are also open, the next phase of measures to be lifted would mean that hospitality could resume indoors as well as over night visits.

Blood samples were taken and found that 68.3 per cent of the adult population tested positive for antibodies.

The ONS said that the figures show "a clear pattern between vaccination and testing positive for Covid-19 antibodies".

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