Zoos, safari parks and drive-in cinemas are set to reopen in England from Monday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will update the nation on the easing of the restrictions later today as he tries to reopen the economy while minimising Covid-19's rate of transmission.

Under pressure from zoos warning they face an exponential threat, Mr Johnson is expected to say at the Downing Street press conference this afternoon zoos can reopen next week as long as they can uphold social-distancing rules.

He will also announce the easing of restrictions on outdoor attractions where people remain in their cars, such as safari parks and drive-in cinemas, because the risk of spreading the disease is lower outside.

The move will pave the way for zoos to reopen in England alongside non-essential shops, despite schools remaining shuttered to many pupils.

A Downing Street official said: "People are continuing to make huge sacrifices to reduce the spread of coronavirus and avoid a second spike, but we know it is tough and where we can safely open up more attractions, and it is supported by the science, we will do so.

"This is by necessity a careful process, but we hope the reopening of safari parks and zoos will help provide families with more options to spend time outdoors while supporting the industry caring for these incredible animals."

The announcement will come after Colchester Zoo, London Zoo and other institutions across the nation warned they may face permanent closure if they were not allowed to reopen.

Colchester Zoo said it had cost £25,000 a day to keep the facility running and said time was running out on how long this was feasible.

The Prime Minister's father, Stanley Johnson, had joined calls for zoos to "reopen as soon as possible" after they were ordered to close when the lockdown was imposed on March 23.

Though the easing will be a relief, zoos will be told that they must not reopen indoor exhibitions, such as reptile houses, and must ensure amenities including cafes are takeaway only.

Yesterday, international conservation charity Zoological Society of London, which runs London and Whipsnade zoos, said it was struggling due to dwindling income and rising costs, while it had also been turned down for a bank loan on the "misunderstanding" the Government would help.

Chester Zoo bosses has also warned it is "at risk of extinction" and could end the year £24 million in debt.

In response to the announcement, ZSL director general Dominic Jermey said he was delighted, adding: "We are waiting to hear more details from the Government, but our zoos are raring to go as soon as we are given the go-ahead.

"We expect to have tickets ready to book by Friday - and everyone will need to book so we can manage capacity. We hope the support we've seen so far for our zoos translates to visitors coming in to support us further."

Claudia Roberts, managing director of the Zoological Society of East Anglia which runs Banham Zoo in Norfolk and Africa Alive in Suffolk, said the announcement gave them a "fighting chance of survival".

She said it was hoped both facilities would reopen on July 1, following a deep clean, although cost cutting would still be needed due to income lost during the closure.

We'll bring you more on this story as soon as we have it.