Coronavirus: Two-metre rule could be reduced if infection rates stay low outside of care home and hospitals, Boris Johnson hints

The prime minister is coming under intense pressure to cut the minimum distance for social contacts to 1.5 or 1 metre, with pubs and restaurants warning that the existing rule will make it unviable for them to reopen. But there are concerns that the so-called R rate - which measures the average number of people each Covid-19 patient infects - is remaining stubbornly close to the 1 figure above which scientists warn it will not be safe to ease lockdown.