Covid Christmas rules: People have been urged to be cautious of the risk of spreading coronavirus when rules are relaxed over Christmas.
Up to three households will be allowed to stay together and form a “Christmas bubble” from 23 to 27 December, as agreed by all four UK nations.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told people to use “personal judgement” on whether to visit elderly relatives.
A scientific adviser to the government said the relaxation of rules amounted to “throwing fuel on the Covid fire”.
The measures will see travel restrictions across the four nations, and between tiers and levels, lifted to allow people to visit families in other parts of the UK.
Anyone travelling to or from Northern Ireland may travel on the 22 and 28 December, but otherwise travel to and from bubbles should be done between the 23 and 27.
People will not be able to get together with others from more than two other households, and once a bubble is formed, it must not be changed or be extended further.
The guidance says a bubble of three households would be able to stay overnight at each other’s home but would not be able to visit hospitality, theatres or retail settings.
In a video message from Downing Street, the prime minister described the agreement as a “special, time-limited dispensation”, saying: “This year means Christmas will be different.”
Mr Johnson said people must consider the risks of who to form a bubble with and whether or not to visit elderly or vulnerable relatives, adding: “Many of us are longing to spend time with family and friends… And yet we can’t afford to throw caution to the wind.”
He added: “‘Tis the season to be jolly but ’tis also the season to be jolly careful.”
Meanwhile, the prime minister has reassured children that Father Christmas “will be packing his sleigh and delivering presents this Christmas”.
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