Covid Christmas to go ahead with ‘limited household bubbling’
Ministers across the four nations of the UK have agreed to allow ‘limited household bubbling’ over Christmas, the Government has said.
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have a joint approach to allow an easing of coronavirus restrictions ‘for a small number of days’ over the festive period, according to the Cabinet Office – which warned this would not be a ‘normal’ Christmas.
Details are yet to be finalised, but the announcement means family members from different households will be able to mix for the celebrations. It comes despite warnings that an easing of restrictions could mean tougher rules will have to be brought in afterwards.
Following the meeting between leaders on Saturday, ministers ‘reiterated the importance of allowing families and friends to meet in a careful and limited way, while recognising that this will not be a normal festive period and the risks of transmission remain very real’.
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In a statement after Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, met the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales and the First and Deputy Ministers of Northern Ireland, the Cabinet Office explained: ‘Welcoming the good progress made by all administrations over the past few days to design a single set of arrangements that can apply across the UK, ministers reiterated the importance of allowing families and friends to meet in a careful and limited way, while recognising that this will not be a normal festive period and the risks of transmission remain very real.
‘As such, ministers endorsed a shared objective of facilitating some limited additional household bubbling for a small number of days, but also emphasised that the public will be advised to remain cautious, and that wherever possible people should avoid travelling and minimise social contact.’
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, had previously said he hoped the UK could be back to normal by Christmas.
But the Cabinet Office went on: ‘In respect of Northern Ireland, ministers also recognised that people will want to see family and friends across the island of Ireland, and this is the subject of discussions with the Irish Government.
‘Work is continuing to finalise the arrangements, including relating to travel. The UK Government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive hope to conclude this work this week, subject to agreement by each administration.’
This is a breaking story – more to follow.
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