Three households will be able to meet together over Christmas under plans being discussed by all four nations of the UK, according to a government source.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove will this afternoon chair a meeting with the first ministers of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from 4pm.
According to the source, under the plans being discussed at the meeting:
- Three households can form an exclusive “bubble”
- Travel restrictions will be lifted between 23 to 27 December
There is also expected to be a relaxation of coronavirus restrictions on overnight stays.
The details of the plan are still yet to be signed off at this afternoon’s meeting of the government’s emergency COBRA committee.
Ahead of that meeting, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon expressed her hope that a “common framework” would be agreed across the UK for the festive period.
However, she said that there might be some differences between each of the four countries on “the precise definition” of a household.
“I know everyone has a desire to see loved ones over the festive period,” Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament earlier on Tuesday.
“However, there is also a very real and a very legitimate anxiety that doing so could put those we love at risk, set back our progress as a country, and result in unnecessary deaths and suffering.”
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford warned people to use additional freedoms over Christmas “responsibly” and said it was “inevitable” that a loosening of rules would “drive a rise” in COVID-19 infections.
“It will lead to more spreading of coronavirus because coronavirus thrives when people get together and the more people get together, the more coronavirus there will be,” he told the Welsh Parliament.
Speaking at a Downing Street news conference on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned: “‘Tis the season to be jolly, but ’tis also the season to be jolly careful.”
He has also said “Christmas cannot be normal” this year and told people to “make a careful judgement about the risk of visiting elderly relatives” over the upcoming festive period.