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Covid Christmas mixing rules under review

The government wants to follow through with its plan to relax Covid restrictions over Christmas but is keeping its guidance “under review”.

The government wants to follow through with its plan to relax Covid restrictions over Christmas but is keeping its guidance “under review”.

Covid Christmas Rules Under Review

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer wants the government to have an emergency Cobra committee to review the proposed relaxation, which would allow three households to meet in “Christmas bubbles” over the five days from 23-27 December.

Boris Johnson’s spokesman would neither confirm nor deny reports that ministers are discussing the options of reducing the number of days of relaxed restrictions from five to three or cutting the number of households allowed in a “Christmas bubble” from three to two. The one thing he did say is that guidance was constantly under review given the latest data on issues such as transmission rates, hospitalisations and deaths from Covid.

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, sparked fears that the period of relaxed rules may not go ahead as planned, by saying that “further action” could be required if the decision to move London and parts of the southeast into tier 3 fails to stop case numbers rising.

Starmer voiced his concern over possible Christmas gatherings on Monday, telling the BirminghamLive website: “What I’d say to people is we all have a responsibility to do whatever we can to keep the infection down. That means, I think, for most of us staying at home if we possibly can for Christmas.” The Leader of the Opposition wrote to Boris Johnson requesting that he convene Cobra to discuss the festive plans given the rapid rise in rates of Covid infections, especially in London and the southeast.

Sir Keir told the PM: “It has become increasingly clear over recent days that the tier system you introduced two weeks ago has failed to control transmission of Covid-19. Sadly, it does now appear that the government has – once again – lost control of infections, putting our economy and our NHS at grave risk in the New Year. I understand that people want to spend time with their families after this awful year, but the situation has clearly taken a turn for the worse since the decision about Christmas was taken. It serves no-one for politicians to ignore this fact. It is my view that you should now convene Cobra in the next 24 hours to review whether the current relaxation is appropriate given the rising number of cases. If you conclude with government scientists that we need to take tougher action to keep people safe over Christmas, then you will have my support. This is a critical moment for our country. The tiered system has not kept the virus under control and has left us with precious little headroom. Put simply, if you take the wrong decision now, the ramifications for our NHS and our economy in the new year could be severe.

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