KEEPING two-metres apart from family and friends means you WON'T have to self-isolate for 14 days if they get coronavirus, the country's top doctor has said.
Professor Chris Whitty warned that it is "essential" that when people meet up outdoors under new relaxed measures they maintain the social distancing rule.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
Those who keep at least two metres apart wouldn't be counted as a "contact" if someone they met developed Covid-19 following the launch of the new test and trace service.
Speaking at Downing Street last night, Prof Whitty said: "If people are meeting in these new, slightly relaxed social distancing guidelines in terms of meeting outdoors, it is essential that people maintain two metres - and that is really important.
"If you do maintain two metres distance and the contacts you've had turn out subsequently to have coronavirus, you will not be counted as a contact and you will not have to self-isolate.
"On the other hand if you don't then actually if they get coronavirus then a) you might get it and b) because you might have got it it's likely that you'll have to self-isolate."
Meanwhile, the government's chief scientific adviser has hinted that the two-metre social distancing measure could be relaxed - if the rules are followed.
Sir Patrick Vallance suggested that there's a lower risk of transmitting the virus if people are sitting back to back or side to side.
Relaxing the two-metre rule to one metre would help hospitality businesses, such as pubs, to reopen and public transport to operate at a higher capacity.
But Sir Patrick added that the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) had concluded that being within one metre of an infected person was 10-30 times riskier than the current two-metre rule.
Sage has previously warned against changing the measure - adding that blurring this message could become confusing.
Speaking at the Downing Street press briefing last night, Sir Patrick said: “We’ve not said it’s two metres or nothing.
"[We’ve said] this is the scientific evidence that explains why two metres is a distance beyond which things are safer.
"And we’ve also laid out what the sort of things are that reduce those risks.
"So for example, being back to back or side to side, and in some cases wearing face coverings, in some cases looking at ventilation.”
He added: “We don’t make policy, we give science advice. From that policy decisions can be made.”
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister said he was aiming to reduce the two-metre social distancing rule so he can help pubs and shops reopen sooner.
Last night, he announced a raft of new measures that would gradually ease lockdown for England - after meeting the Government's five tests.
Friends and family will be able to meet in parks and gardens in socially distanced groups of six and people would be able to see "both parents at once, or both grandparents at once".
Schools, outdoor retailers and car showrooms will also be allowed to open on Monday ahead of a greater opening of non-essential shops on June 15.
It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that people will have to self-isolate for 14 days on more than one occasion if told to do so by the NHS.
"Employment law covers this and we changed the law a couple of months ago so that if you are instructed by the NHS for public health reasons to stay at home, then that is the equivalent in employment law to being ill, and it is very important that employers are flexible around this."
WAGE WOES How furlough changes could affect your pay as announcement expected on scheme
COVID CRISISCoronavirus LIVE: Furlough scheme to be changed TODAY as deaths top 37,000
UNLUCKY STRIKEKids 'more likely to die by LIGHTNING strike than Covid caught at school'
YOU BEAUTYBoots to reopen beauty halls next month - but shoppers will have to follow rules
CLOSE UP2m social distancing measure may be relaxed if rules are followed, Vallance says
TESTING TimesHoliday boost as 20-minute airport virus test could end need for quarantine
MORE OR LESSONWhich schools are reopening on June 1? How to find out
lock-dineWhen will restaurants reopen in the UK as lockdown measures are eased?
ONE STEP AT A TIMENew lockdown rules: What you can and can't do explained
BUBBLE UPWhat is a social bubble and how many people can meet together?
Asked how quickly test results will be received back, Mr Hancock said: "84 per cent of the tests from the drive-through centres are returned within 24 hours, 95 per cent of all tests are returned within 48 hours.
"Of course, there are examples of where the process hasn't worked, because this is now a massive process, so there are individual stray examples.
"We're working all the time to make it faster, I want to see every test returned within 24 hours from those drive-through centres and we will do that just as quickly as we can."