Ministers across the four nations of the United Kingdom support allowing “some limited additional household bubbling” over the Christmas period, the UK Government has confirmed.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been locked in talks with the UK Government over plans for a “cautious relaxation” of coronavirus restrictions during the festive period, with governments across the UK hoping to finalise arrangements in the next week.
Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland are working to produce a “single set of arrangements” that can apply across the UK and have said they support “some limited additional household bubbling” for a “small number of days”.
It comes ahead of a statement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons on Monday, where he will set out his “winter Covid-19 plan”, including some detail on how people can see their loved ones over Christmas.
Christmas arrangements are yet to be finalised but the statement released on behalf of the four nations said this will “not be a normal festive period” and the risks of transmissions remain “very real”.
The statement adds that the public will be advised to “remain cautious” and “wherever possible people should avoid travelling and minimise social contact”.
Work is continuing to finalise the arrangements including relating to travel and ministers have said they hope to conclude this work this week, subject to agreement by each administration.
Speaking on BBC’s Politics Scotland, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the aim is for an agreement to be reached across the four-nations that allows for some “cautious relaxation” around Christmas.
However, she stressed the public must be careful because as soon as households start mixing together, the virus will spread.
The Prime Minister is also expected to confirm on Monday that the national lockdown in England will end on December 2, with a return to the tiered system.
Speaking to Sophy Ridge on Sunday, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak admitted it’s “not going to be a normal Christmas this year”.