There is a ‘unanimous agreement’ between the UK Government and devolved administrations that the UK-wide easing of restrictions over the Christmas period should still go-ahead, Boris Johnson has told MPs.
Ministers had been facing calls to rethink the planned easing of restrictions for a five-day period between 23-27 December, with cases of COVID-19 currently rising sharply in many parts of the UK.
Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and other politicians had called for the Christmas Coronavirus rules to be reviewed.
On the topic of the eased restrictions over Christmas, a rare joint editorial on Tuesday from the British Medical Journal and Health Service Journal said: “We believe the government is about to blunder into another major error that will cost many lives”.
However, following talks between the governments of all four UK nations, people will still be able to form Christmas ‘bubbles’ with up to two other households and travel restrictions will still be lifted across the UK during the five-day period.
It is understood though that there will be increased messaging over the next week to warn people about the risks of coming into contact with other people. While Boris Johnson has said an agreement has been reached over the regulations across the UK, the advice appears to differ slightly across the UK nations.
First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford said on Wednesday lunchtime: ‘The advice of the Welsh Government is that only two households should come together to form an exclusive Christmas bubble during the five-day period. The fewer people we mix with in our homes, the less chance we have of catching or spreading the virus.’
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has indicated that there will be tougher messaging in Scotland, but regulations will remain the same.
Further guidance is set to be published across the UK later to urge people to exert caution and use common sense when meeting with others.