The British government is to have a “fresh look” at its anti-pandemic restrictions, including the two-meter social distancing rule, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said, as he assured the public that high-street shopping is now “safe.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson “has put in place a comprehensive review of the two-meter rule,” Sunak told Sky News on Sunday morning when asked if the government would be reducing the social distancing measure.

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The UK, which so far has reported nearly 296,000 coronavirus cases, has made “good progress” against the pandemic, the finance minister insisted. He said this “enables us to take a fresh look at it” with the help of scientists and economists.

Sunak added that it is not dangerous to go shopping next week. “People need to have the confidence that it’s safe… and I can give that assurance,” he said.

While not saying explicitly whether the two-meter rule could be altered, Sunak acknowledged “the positive impact it will have on businesses’ ability to open.”

Non-essential entities are set to re-open across England this Monday for the first time since the Covid-19 lockdown was put in place back in March.

Experts and MPs have previously voiced concerns that the measure is taking a heavy toll on the economy. Businesses will have trouble re-opening sustainably if the distancing advice isn’t reduced, it has been argued.

Previously, Robert Dingwall, a professor at Nottingham Trent University and a member of the government’s virus advisory group, said the two-meter measure “was conjured up out of nowhere.” There is “fragile evidence” that this specific distance prevents transmission of the virus, he insisted.

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