He announced the change as part of a series of moves to further ease lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that, from 4 July, a “one metre plus” rule will be introduced in England when it is not possible to stay 2m apart.

He announced the change as part of a series of moves to further ease lockdown.

The distance could be lowered with “mitigations”, so people can be closer without a higher risk of transmission, he said.

A review into the 2m (over 6ft) social distancing rule was first announced by Mr Johnson last month.

The government had been under pressure from MP and the hospitality industry to allow people to be closer together, to help businesses after they reopen.

Sage, the government’s committee of scientific advisers say current evidence suggests being 1m (just over 3ft) apart carries between two and 10 times the risk of being 2m apart.

What does the science say?
The simple answer is that the nearer you are to someone who is infected, the greater the risk of catching the virus.

The World Health Organization recommends keeping a distance of at least 1m.

Some countries have adopted this guidance, often because they also insist on people wearing masks.

But there are also regional variations inside countries.

For example, Germany’s general guidance is to keep a distance of 1.5m, but it is more in some parts of the country
Spain also observes 1.5m, but in Catalonia, for example, this can be reduced at open-air events if masks are worn

media captionOne and two metre social distancing – what does it look like?
What can be done to mitigate risk at 1m?
Scientists advising the British government say every workplace or building should carry out its own assessment because the risks at each location will vary.

And they highlight several strategies for people who are within 2m of each other.

The most obvious is to minimise the length of time spent together.

Plastic screens can block the movement of infected droplets, as can face coverings.

In a growing number of countries, including all parts of the UK, people are being encouraged to wear face coverings on public transport and “enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible”.

Other changes in the workplace include moving to shift patterns to reduce the numbers in an office or factory at any one time.

Seating can be arranged to minimise how many people are face to face – which is judged to carry more risk than being side by side.

Making sure that legal requirements on ventilation are met with the correct supply of fresh air to dilute and disperse any virus – and frequent cleaning of surfaces including tables, desks, chairs and handles also becomes more important the busier a place gets.

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