Sterner warnings about the dangers of mixing over Christmas are to be issued by the four UK nations later – but the rules allowing three households to meet are expected to remain in place.
There are no plans to alter England’s regulations and sources say the other nations are “unlikely to change”.
The plans for 23-27 December will be discussed in a call between officials.
It comes as London, much of Essex and parts of Hertfordshire moved into tier three restrictions overnight.
Around 61% of England’s population is now living under the toughest rules.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove will resume talks with leaders of the devolved administrations on Wednesday morning amid warnings hospitals could become overwhelmed if the easing of Covid regulations across the UK continue as planned.
The rules will allow up to three households to form a bubble and stay overnight at each other’s homes over a five-day period.
Labour has called for the measures over Christmas to be reviewed.
Shadow communities secretary Steve Reed told BBC Breakfast that the four UK nations should reconsider whether the proposed easing of restrictions was safe, “given what we now know about the failure of [England’s] tiered system to control the rate of infection”.
It comes after two leading journals said the “rash” decision to ease restrictions would “cost many lives”.
In a joint editorial, the British Medical Journal and Health Service Journal stressed that demand on the NHS was increasing, adding that a new strain of coronavirus – identified in both England and Wales – “has introduced further potential jeopardy”.
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