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When will I be able to hug my close family, gran asks ministers

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Lynne’s question, which was read out by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, was: “I’m missing my grandchildren so much. Please can you let me know if, after the five criteria are met, is being able to hug our closest family one of the first steps out of lockdown?” (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA)

Lynne’s question, which was read out by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, was: “I’m missing my grandchildren so much. Please can you let me know if, after the five criteria are met, is being able to hug our closest family one of the first steps out of lockdown?” (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA)

Lynne’s question, which was read out by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, was: “I’m missing my grandchildren so much. Please can you let me know if, after the five criteria are met, is being able to hug our closest family one of the first steps out of lockdown?” (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA)

A grandmother has asked if hugging close family will be one of the first steps out of lockdown, in the first question from the public at the Downing Street coronavirus press conference.

The query posed by Lynne from Skipton was chosen from more than 15,000 posed by members of the public yesterday.

One question a day from the public will be put to ministers, and the process of choosing will be managed independently by pollster YouGov.

Lynne’s question, which was read out by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, was: “I’m missing my grandchildren so much. Please can you let me know if, after the five criteria are met, is being able to hug our closest family one of the first steps out of lockdown?”

Chief medical officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, answered: “In terms of the direct answer to this lady’s question, it depends, if I’m honest, on the situation that she finds herself in.

“So if she is someone who has a significant medical problem in a way that means that she would have to be shielding, and she’s an older person — some grandparents are younger grandparents, some obviously are older — if she’s in a group which is vulnerable, then the answer is that it might well be prudent, and this will depend entirely on individual circumstances, for her not to get into a situation where she is putting herself at risk.

“Obviously if she’s healthy and younger, that may well not be true, but the overall view that actually one of the things that clearly is important to everybody is the ability to get together with families remotely, but also physically, everyone fully accepts.

“Nevertheless, it is important that people who are vulnerable continue to be protected even after whatever the next steps are occur.”

Mr Hancock said the move to take questions from the public came “following significant demand”, adding that ministers will not see the question in advance. It will be a regular feature of the daily briefing. The selected questioner will be informed by 3pm, two hours ahead of the usual press conference time.

Belfast Telegraph