View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Science & Tech
  2. Coronavirus
4 May 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

Two metre distancing rule may be relaxed as UK exits lockdown, defence secretary says

By Samuel Horti

The requirement for people to keep two metres apart could be halved to one metre, which would still reduce the rate of infection, defence secretary Ben Wallace has said.

“The two-metre rule reduces the possibility of infection by a certain amount of time,” he told Sky News. “If you halve that it still keeps people away from being infected but for a lesser time. The probability of being infected is much less.

“I think there are options about how we can do it. You can wear personal protective equipment (PPE), that could be a possibility if you have to be in close proximity or indeed you could find other ways of doing it.”

Wellcome Trust director Sir Jeremy Farrar, who is a member of the group of scientists advising the government on its coronavirus response, said there is “nothing magical” about the two-metre rule.

“It’s based on old data about how far when we cough and we sneeze that the droplets and the aerosols that may come from that spread,” he told the Today programme.

“There’s nothing magical about two metres. Perhaps more importantly is the time you spend in contact with somebody else. Not just the distance but also the time.”

Wallace also said the government was sourcing as many face masks as it could in anticipation of changing the rules around wearing them in public. 

Content from our partners
Unlocking the potential of a national asset, St Pancras International
Time for Labour to turn the tide on children’s health
How can we deliver better rail journeys for customers?

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU