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UK News Household mixing and five-day window: Meeting to look at plans for easing COVID rules at Christmas

18:10  24 november  2020
18:10  24 november  2020 Source:   news.sky.com

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FAMILIES will be free to meet at Christmas for five days under plans to cheer the "selfless" nation. Rules on socialising will be relaxed under a UK-wide Meanwhile, dozens of Tory MPs are gearing up to oppose the new set of rules planned for after lockdown. The Covid Recovery Group has written a

Christmas lockdown rules : Christmas will look a little different this year (Image: GETTY). Members of the newly formed Covid Recovery Group, led by former chief whip Mark Harper and High Wycombe MP Steve Baker, demanded a ‘cost-benefit analysis' of the new system in a letter to the PM last night.

Michael Gove will chair a COBRA meeting with devolved administrations later as discussions continue about Christmas rules, according to government sources.

Ministers are trying to agree a UK-wide approach to relaxing COVID-19 restrictions over the festive period with the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The talks involving the Cabinet Office minister and the devolved governments are expected to get under way around 4pm.

Ministers are working on plans for three households and a five-day break, from Christmas Eve to 28 December, subject to agreement among the four nations of the UK.

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The ban on household mixing in Tiers 2 and 3 will likely be lifted for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day through to the delayed Boxing Day Bank Holiday Workers in food manufacturing, staff in prisons, and those delivering and administering Covid vaccines are also set to be offered weekly testing from

Ministers outline plans for "some limited additional household bubbling for a small number of One option that was discussed in meetings this weekend was that three households could be allowed to meet up for up to five High / Tier 2: No household mixing indoors; rule of six applies outdoors Labour has so far supported the need for restrictions to slow the spread of Covid -19, making a

People pass Christmas market stalls in Cardiff, where restrictions across Wales have been relaxed following a two-week © PA Wire/PA Images People pass Christmas market stalls in Cardiff, where restrictions across Wales have been relaxed following a two-week "firebreak" lockdown. (Photo by Ben Birchall/PA Images via Getty Images)

"We have been clear of our desire to try and agree a four-nations approach which will allow families to meet up over the Christmas period," Boris Johnson's spokesman said.

"We continue to work with the devolved nations to agree a plan to allow families to meet up over Christmas.

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More on coronavirus:

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SAGE scientist says Covid rules could be relaxed over Christmas if new Tier system is successful. When asked whether every day of relaxation would require five days of tighter restrictions, he said Chancellor Rishi Sunak this morning said it was important to look at 'the impact of coronavirus in the

Reducing the spread of COVID -19 in your household . Looking after your health and wellbeing. If you do not have symptoms but have tested positive for COVID -19, stay at home and self-isolate for 10 Stay at home for 14 days . The 14- day period starts from the day the first person in your house

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"That work is ongoing and there will be a meeting later of Cobra to discuss it."

Facing questions from MPs on the health and social care and science and technology select committees, Matt Hancock said Christmas would not look the same as normal.

Gallery: Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the world (Photo Services) 

Asked if the focus on Christmas could be seen as "unfair" to people who would have loved to have celebrated Eid and Diwali, the health secretary said: "I'm very sensitive to this point, and we did think about it and we engaged and we have discussed it.

"The conclusion that we've come to, which I agree with very strongly, is that Christmas as a national holiday is the biggest national holiday that we have.

"Of course it has particular importance for Christians, but it is an important national holiday for everybody in this country.

"So while of course we considered the impact on those of other faiths, Christmas is a special time for everyone in this country."

a person riding a skateboard down a street in front of a building: Ministers are trying to agree a UK-wide approach to relaxing COVID-19 restrictions over the festive period © Getty Ministers are trying to agree a UK-wide approach to relaxing COVID-19 restrictions over the festive period

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday that "we're making progress towards a common position across the UK" on an easing of restrictions around Christmas, with it "likely [that] some households may be able to form slightly larger bubbles with each other for a short period".

Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething, meanwhile, said the four nations were discussing "the potential for a limited period of time to have some relaxation" of the rules.

If an agreement is reached, the prime minister is expected to set out how families might be able to gather over Christmas later this week.

Speaking via videolink at a Downing Street news conference on Monday, Mr Johnson said Christmas will be "different" than in previous years, declaring: "Tis the season to be jolly, but also the season to be jolly careful."

He added: "We want to make sure we have a solution for Christmas that everybody can share, understand and respect throughout the whole of the UK."

Addressing MPs in the Commons earlier that day, the PM said families would have to make a "careful judgment" about visiting elderly relatives.

He said COVID-19 is "obviously not going to grant a Christmas truce" and warned that if people "blow it with a big blowout Christmas", the country will pay for it with tougher restrictions heading into 2021.

The PM was speaking as he confirmed the second lockdown will end on 2 December in England and a strengthened tier system will come into force.

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Stay alert to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.

Third national lockdown not ruled out as minister warns it may be summer before we 'get back to normal' .
It is "too early to say" if another national lockdown will be needed after Christmas, according to a senior minister. George Eustice said "you can't rule anything out" when asked by Sky News if the "stay at home" measures could come back into force to keep coronavirus under control.The environment secretary also admitted it may be as late as "next summer" until "we can all start to get back to normal" - dependent on a vaccine.A crucial vote is coming up in parliament tomorrow on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's tier system and attempted return to a regional rules approach from 2 December.

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