OUTDOOR family reunions could be allowed within weeks under the Government’s roadmap for easing coronavirus restrictions.

Care home residents will also be able to hold hands with a loved one again if the visitor tests negative for Covid-19 with a lateral flow test.

Downing Street said it wanted to make social contact easier as soon as possible as Prime Minister Boris Johnson spends the weekend finalising plans for relaxing measures in England.

It has been reported that new rules allowing two households to meet outdoors – regardless of the total number of people – are set to be introduced from April, while six people from six different households would also be able to gather.

Schools look set to reopen to all pupils from March 8, with both primary and secondaries said to return in just over three weeks.

The move comes despite a coalition of education unions and professional bodies warning that a full return of all pupils would be a ‘reckless’ course of action.

A relaxation of the rules around care home visits has been given a cautious welcome by the sector, with calls for clarification on the details of the new arrangements.

Warrington Guardian:

Care home residents will be allowed to hold hands with a regular indoor visitor from March 8 if they pass a rapid virus test, but PPE must still be worn.

Residents will be asked not to hug or kiss their relatives, with guidance for care homes is expected to be published in the next fortnight.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was pleased that it would soon be possible for people to be ‘carefully and safely’ reunited with loved ones who live in care homes.

Mr Johnson will set out the blueprint for relaxing measures in England on Monday, with the final details set to be agreed at a meeting on Sunday.

The Prime Minister will then chair a meeting of his cabinet on Monday, before announcing the plans to the House of Commons later that afternoon.

He is expected to lead a Downing Street press conference that evening alongside England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.