I think we’ve got a good chance, a good chance, of being able to dispense

Boris Johnson has said there is a “good chance” the one-metre plus social distancing rule can be scrapped from 21 June.

During a campaign visit in Hartlepool, the prime minister told reporters: “I think we’ve got a good chance, a good chance, of being able to dispense with one-metre plus.”

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He stressed the move would be “dependent on the data” and “we can’t say it categorically yet”, but added: “That’s what it feels like to me right now.”

Lockdown roadmap dates – what’s opening when, and what’s allowed with how many people?
Lockdown roadmap dates – what’s opening when, and what’s allowed with how many people?
Under the government’s roadmap for easing COVID-19 restrictions, 21 June is the date on which all legal limits on social contact are set to be removed.

But there have been suggestions that some separate measures – like mask wearing – could continue beyond that point.

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The government’s roadmap for relaxing coronavirus rules acknowledges that social distancing is “difficult and damaging for businesses and, as a result, it is important to return to as near to normal as quickly as possible”.

It adds: “Ahead of Step 4 [21 June], as more is understood about the impact of vaccines on transmission and a far greater proportion of the population has been vaccinated, the government will complete a review of social distancing measures and other long-term measures that have been put in place to limit transmission.

NHS England has urged Instagram to stop users selling a “dangerous” unlicensed weight-gain drug.

Apetamin is being sold and promoted on Instagram and other sites as a way to achieve an hour-glass figure in the mould of celebrities like Kim Kardashian.

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However, senior health leaders say the appetite stimulant could cause “serious harm”.

One of the drug’s ingredients is a prescription-only antihistamine linked to side effects such as dizziness, tremors, nausea, blurred visions and liver toxicity.

“We are writing regarding the unlicensed and dangerous drug Apetamin, which is promoted on your platform and could result in serious harm to any individual who takes it,” says the letter to Instagram chief Adam Mosseri.

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“This substance is consumed as a supplement, to foster a specific body image and shape, deemed to be desirable by some high-profile influencers, and predominately targeted at younger women and girls.”

The letter is signed by NHS England medical director Professor Stephen Powis, national mental health director Claire Murdoch, and Kitty Wallace of the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation.

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They say they are concerned about the drug’s “physical and mental health impacts” and urge Instagram “to demonstrate a duty of care… and clamp down now on this dangerous content”.

Apetamin is unauthorised in the UK and should not be sold, supplied or advertised, the letter adds.

The drug’s unlawful availability was highlighted in a BBC Three documentary last month and Instagram said it had removed the accounts highlighted.

It stressed that buying and selling non-medical or prescription drugs was “strictly against our policies”.

However, the letter claims “dozens of profiles” selling Apetamin are still online and that when it flagged them up, a customer service message claimed they did not break the rules.

The NHS chiefs ask for an “urgent update” on what Instagram is doing to shut down accounts or content that promote the drug.

They also seek assurances that any “shortcomings” in its community guidelines that allow such content to appear will be tightened.

A spokesman from the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation said they were becoming overwhelmed by people seeking help for body dysmorphic disorder (BDD).

“Although social media is not the cause of BDD, it has a huge role to play in exacerbating the symptoms,” the spokesman said.

The Queen has said that “reconciliation, equality and mutual understanding” in Northern Ireland “cannot be taken for granted”, in a message released to mark what many consider to be the country’s centenary.

She said “continued peace” in Northern Ireland “is a credit to its people, upon whose shoulders the future rests”.

Her Majesty said the 100th anniversary of the Government of Ireland Act coming into effect was a “significant centenary” and one that “reminds us of our complex history, and provides an opportunity to reflect on our togetherness and our diversity”.

“The political progress in Northern Ireland and the peace process is rightly credited to a generation of leaders who had the vision and courage to put reconciliation before division,” the Queen said in her message.

“But above all, the continued peace is a credit to its people, upon whose shoulders the future rests.

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“It is clear that reconciliation, equality and mutual understanding cannot be taken for granted, and will require sustained fortitude and commitment.

“During my many visits to Northern Ireland, I have seen these qualities in abundance, and look forward to seeing them again on future occasions.”

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The monarch said she looked back with “fondness” on her visit to Ireland with Prince Philip 10 years ago, adding: “I treasure my many memories, and the spirit of goodwill I saw at first hand.

“Across generations, the people of Northern Ireland are choosing to build an inclusive, prosperous, and hopeful society, strengthened by the gains of the peace process. May this be our guiding thread in the coming years.”

In his own message to mark the milestone, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “People from all parts of Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and across the globe, will approach this anniversary in different ways, with differing perspectives.

“While this is a moment of shared reflection, it is also an important opportunity to come together to celebrate Northern Ireland and build towards a better and even brighter future for all its people.”

The PM added that the UK government would keep on showcasing “all the brilliant things” that Northern Ireland contributes to the rest of the UK.

Northern Ireland was created on this day 100 years ago when the Government of Ireland Act came into effect and the island of Ireland was partitioned.

The 32 counties of Ireland were split into two – with Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone forming Northern Ireland and the rest making up what would soon become the Irish Free State and much later the Republic.

But there are differing opinions on when exactly Northern Ireland was created, with some pointing to other points in history for the country’s foundation.

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liran vartik

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