Govt rules families can see each other over Xmas – as PM urges ‘extreme caution’

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The Government has reportedly decided to go ahead with relations on coronavirus restrictions over Christmas, during talks between the four nations of the UK.

They have broadly agreed not to change the regulations, a but a final working arrangement is still being examined, according to BBC reporter Nick Eardley.

However, some parts of the UK may introduce tougher restrictions on households mixing.

As it stands, up to three households will be able to form a “Christmas bubble” and meet between December 23-27 across the UK.

Travel restrictions are also set to be lifted.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove yesterday spoke with the UK’s other national leaders, with the talks continuing today.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick earlier said that it would be up to people to make a "personal judgment" whether they wanted to meet up with vulnerable family members over the holiday period.

He suggested that some people may decide to "keep it small" and put off larger gatherings until the spring, saying: "Easter can be the new Christmas."

Ministers hope that the rollout of a vaccine and improved testing availability will help life return to something closer to normal in the spring.

The first vaccination figures showed almost 138,000 people in the UK have received the jab so far.

Two leading medical publications – the BMJ and Health Service Journal – warned an easing of restrictions would "cost many lives", while the British Medical Association (BMA) echoed Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in demanding an urgent rethink.

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Mr Jenrick said that people would need to think carefully if they wanted to risk large family gatherings, pointing to the example of the US where there had been a rise in cases following the Thanksgiving holiday.

"We all need to use our own personal judgment thinking about our own families whether we have particularly elderly or clinically vulnerable relatives who might be round the Christmas table and also looking at the fact that the rates of the virus are rising in many parts of the country," he told Sky News.

"Our position is clear that the legal framework will continue but because the infection is rising in many parts of the country, because we can see these international examples like Thanksgiving, it is incumbent on each every family across the country this morning and in the days ahead to have that conversation round the breakfast table, 'Is this right for our family?'

"This is a virus that thrives on social interaction so bringing more people together, even over this short period of time, is not cost-free. It will have consequences in terms of increasing the rate. It will rise."

  • Christmas
  • Coronavirus

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