Boris Johnson defends the UK Christmas bubble chaos

Boris Johnson's advice for a safe "little" Christmas this year

UK chief medical officer Chris Whitty warned tonight that the New Year's Christmas mix will result in more coronavirus deaths as he stated this was no moment to relax at all.

Professor Whitty bluntly stated that the loose rules mean the virus will kill more Britons, comparing the situation to driving 100 km / h on an icy road – saying that while it is legal, it is not "sensible".

The CMO, who cast a somber tone alongside Boris Johnson at a press conference on Downing Street tonight, said: “Any type of time when people come together in groups that otherwise would not meet increases the risks and this is leading to an increase in hospitalizations and deaths … this is in line with saying that these are icy and treacherous conditions … just because you can doesn't mean you should. & # 39; He added grimly, “This is not a moment to relax at all. On the contrary. & # 39;

Mr Johnson urged the British to have a "happy Christmas" with an emphasis on "little" as he denied that the plan for bubbles is causing chaos across the UK. The Prime Minister said that all home nations were sending the "same message" that "smaller is safer".

He warned that the number of coronavirus cases was far higher than hoped when the festive easing was planned – but insisted that the law remain unchanged to avoid “criminalizing” desperate families “Would.

He said allowing three households to mingle over five days is a "maximum". He advised people to determine their bladders by Friday and isolate them beforehand if possible and avoid older relatives.

He also warned against traveling from areas with high infection to areas with low infection, staying with family members, and flocking to main street for sale on Boxing Day.

Quoting the classic festive tune, Mr Johnson said, "Have a happy little Christmas, but unfortunately this year preferably a very small Christmas."

But the united front across Britain was in tatters tonight when Wales announced it would change the law to only allow two households to be mixed between December 23 and 27 – as opposed to three in England.

Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon said gatherings should only be for one day, people should not stay overnight unless it was "inevitable" and asked the Scots who have not yet organized a bubble to avoid it.

While bruising Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs, Labor chief accused Mr Johnson of ignoring the advice of scientists for Christmas.

But he shot back, accusing Sir Keir of lacking the courage to stand up for the lifting of the easing.

The final round of talks between Michael Gove, Nicola Sturgeon, Mark Drakeford from Wales and Arlene Foster from Northern Ireland took place this morning.

No10 was prepared for Scotland to take a tougher line after Ms Sturgeon said she would not hesitate to break the ranks – suggesting the détente duration and limit for three households may need to be reduced.

Government Christmas travel tsar Sir Peter Hendy told the Transport Select Committee this morning that people should "be careful", "stay on-site" and "book public transport early".

But he suggested three-quarters of the public don't intend to travel, and predicted there won't be any nightmare scenes.

Since the coronavirus crisis threatens to attack another staple food of normal life:

  • Nearly 140,000 Britons were vaccinated against coronavirus in the first seven days after its introduction, according to a government minister.
  • Inflation fell from 0.7 percent to 0.3 percent last month as England was in the second blanket lockdown, which provided some relief to the families in need.
  • Official figures showed that Covid cases are increasing in three-quarters of the local authorities just two weeks after the end of the second lockdown.
  • A YouGov poll last night found that 57 percent want to see the Christmas amnesty scrapped. 31 percent think it should be carried out as planned.
  • Treasury sources ruled out providing additional financial aid to hotel companies in London, which entered Stage Three today.
  • A report found that NHS England estimates less than half of the population will receive the injections in 2021.

Speaking at a press conference on Downing Street, the Prime Minister said that all British nations are sending the "same message" that "smaller is safer".

Nicola Sturgeon presented different rules for Scotland at Christmas

Mark Drakeford gave Boris Johnson very different advice about families gathering for Christmas

The UK's political approach was in tatters today as Nicola Sturgeon (left) and Mark Drakeford (right) gave Boris Johnson very different advice about families gathering for Christmas

The majority of Britons believe that Christmas should be canceled, polls show

The majority of Britons believe that Christmas should be canceled this year to ease restrictions during the holiday season. This was the result of a survey.

A YouGov poll of 3,856 adults found that 57 percent believe the current rules should be kept over Christmas – instead of mixing bubbles from up to three households.

Tory MPs are increasingly nervous about the proposals in the UK after the BMJ and HSJ warned, according to respected medical journals, that the "rash" "costs lives" and needs to be removed.

Jeremy Hunt, chairman of the health committee, said the government should listen "very, very carefully" to concerns.

And the UK public seems to agree – only 31 percent said they wanted the "bubbles" plan to go ahead. Separate Ipsos MORI research found that 49 percent believed the rules were not strict enough.

Mr Johnson said it would have been "frankly inhuman" to "ban" Christmas altogether – pointing out that current restrictions on civil liberties may be the toughest since Cromwell's time.

Referring to days of dispute between the British nations over the Christmas bubbles, he said: “We have decided that unfortunately the overall situation is worse and more challenging than we had hoped when we first set the rules.

“While it would not be right to criminalize people who have made plans and just want to hang out with loved ones, across the UK we are governments at all levels together and ask you to think carefully and in detail about the days ahead.

“We keep the laws the same, but we all want to send the same message: A smaller Christmas will be a safer Christmas and a shorter Christmas will be a safer Christmas.

“When we say three households can meet in five days, I want to emphasize that these are maximum values ​​and not goals that should be sought.

“It will always be safest to minimize the number of people you meet. This means that if you visit others over Christmas, we ask you in the five days before, on this Friday, to keep the number of people with whom you are in contact as low as possible.

"If possible, don't travel from a high prevalence area to a low prevalence area and avoid staying away from home overnight if you can."

He continued, “Whatever your Christmas plans, please think carefully about avoiding the crowds at the Boxing Day sales.

"And no one should gather in large groups to see the New Year."

He added, "If you have an elderly relative, you may not want to see them until they've been vaccinated."

At their daily meeting, Ms. Sturgeon urged the Scots to stay in their own homes if they can instead of visiting relatives. She said those who don't need to repair a bladder should not form one now.

In her daily briefing, she said, “The surest way to spend Christmas this year for you and your loved ones is to stay in your own household and at home.

“My strong recommendation is that you should do this, if you can.

“Any interaction you have with another household should take place outdoors whenever possible. However, if you find this essential indoors with someone from a different household, you should limit both the duration and number as much as possible.

“The five-day relaxation is a time window in which you can meet. It is not a time that we find it safe or useful to meet. You should see it as a maximum, not a goal.

“My recommendation is that if you do form a blister, try not to see people in it for more than one day during this period, and not stay overnight unless it is inevitable.

“You should also limit the number as much as possible. A maximum of three households try to take into account that families come in all shapes and sizes, but two would be better.

"In short, if you need to create a bubble, keep it as small as possible."

Mr Drakeford told the Welsh Government: “Here in Wales, only two households should come together to create an exclusive Christmas bubble over the five-day period.

“The fewer people we mix in our homes, the less likely we are to catch or spread the virus.

“None of us want to be sick this Christmas. And we don't want to give coronavirus to our close family members or friends.

"The Chief Medical Officer for Wales has given special advice to people who were previously protected from mixing over Christmas."

Mr Drakeford also announced outside-bubble swinging restrictions, with all non-essential retail stores, including close contact services and all leisure and fitness centers, to close at the end of trading on Christmas Eve. All hospitality rooms close on Christmas Day from 6 p.m.

A full Level 4 lockdown will then go into effect from December 28th – after the bubbles have legally expired – with blocks for household mix, vacation accommodation, and travel.

Speaking in the Commons, Sir Keir said the Christmas relaxation of coronavirus rules was the prime minister's "next big mistake".

"If he really wants to move this forward, can he tell us what the assessment is and whether the infection rate impact that is putting pressure on the NHS has been implemented?" the Labor leader was jibing.

Where could ESCAPE Tier 3 be in the final review?

Counties could be split up through new local lockdown levels today as MPs call for rural counties to have stricter rules than cities hit harder by Covid-19 as government data shows infection rates divide Kent, Leicestershire and Lancashire communities.

Health chiefs will meet today to review the pre-Christmas restrictions and are expected to be persistent. Cases are picking up again at the national level and the effects of the November lockdown have all but subsided in parts of the country. More than 34 million people now live according to Tier 3 rules.

But MPs from across the country have called for their rural residents to be freed from draconian policies as people are grouped into "zero covid" villages according to rules sparked by outbreaks in nearby cities.

Kent MP Tom Tugendhat advocates dividing the county into sections so that the rural people in his constituency can have more freedom. Kent is in the third tier because Medway and Swale have some of the highest rates in England – but Department of Health figures show that case numbers are also increasing in smaller areas, proving that outbreaks can penetrate smaller communities.

Lancashire and Leicestershire are calling for some areas to be exempted from the strictest restrictions, as millions have been forced to live in harsh conditions for months.

And data shows that the counties in the southeast – England's new hotspot – are divided, with cases high and rising in the cities but much lower in the greener areas around them, with divisions possibly planned for East and West Sussex are.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the city had a "good argument" for being pulled out of Tier 3 as it had the toughest restrictions since October, although rates remain high in some counties.

But a visibly angry Mr Johnson replied, "I wish he had the courage to just say what he really wanted to do, which is to cancel the plans people have made and cancel Christmas – I think that's it what it drives on, it looks a bit empty, i think that is what it drives on.

“As of today, I can tell him that it is only this morning that there is unanimous agreement across the UK government and all decentralized administrations – including members of all parties, including his own – that we should, in principle, continue with the existing rules because we I don't want to criminalize people's long-standing plans.

“We think it is absolutely important that people exercise a high degree of personal responsibility during this very, very difficult time – especially when they come into contact with older people, and avoid contact with older people if possible.

"That's the only implication I can get from what he said if he's sensible and careful – not by imposing endless bans or canceling Christmas as he seems to want, unless he wants to announce another idea – this is how we will continue to work together to control this virus, defeat it, and move the country forward. & # 39;

Two leading medical journals had warned that adhering to the five-day plan was a "serious mistake that will cost many lives".

Ministers ruled, however, that punishing the whole country would be unfair amid concerns about increasing cases in London and the South East.

And there were warnings that any attempt to ban Christmas would be impossible to enforce, as police chiefs who were already warning officials would not participate in “monitoring people's Christmas dinners”.

Concerns have also been raised about the impact on people's mental health when families are suddenly forced to cancel their Christmas get-together plans and instead have to spend it alone.

In a round of interviews this morning, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick insisted there would be no change to the legal provisions underlying the five-day festive easing south of the border, saying the government shouldn't tell people how to get one Decision should come.

But he urged families to opt for less given the rise in coronavirus cases, admitting the close contact will likely lead to infections in the New Year.

“I have a feeling that many people, older members of the public, are coming to the conclusion that given the good news about the vaccine, it might be wise to wait a little later and meet up with family and friends, but I am the one firm belief that this is something where members of the public need to use their own judgment, ”he told BBC Breakfast.

"The government can legislate, and we have, and that is the UK as a whole, but we cannot legislate on all eventualities and everything that happens in people's lives."

Mr Jenrick said he "respected" the opinions of scientists who warned of the consequences of easing, and said there had been "fairly serious" effects in the US after Thanksgiving last month.

“This is a virus that lives on social interaction. Therefore, it is not free to bring more people together even in this short period of time. This will have consequences for the rate increase. It will go up, ”he told Sky News.

Mr. Jenrick suggested that some people might want to postpone large family gatherings until spring.

"Easter can be the new Christmas," he said.

Government sources had indicated that Ms. Sturgeon imposing additional restrictions would be deeply disruptive to families who have already planned easing. "Even she could make fun of this one," said a source.

Another government adviser said, “If you forbid people from seeing their loved ones for Christmas, the next question is, how are you going to get this done?

“Would you put up roadblocks to keep people from traveling? Would you ask the police to open the doors on Christmas Day? This prime minister would never consider that. & # 39;

A source told the Telegraph, "We made the rules, people know what they are. It would be wrong to change them so soon before Christmas when people have made plans."

In a highly competitive joint editorial yesterday, the British Medical Journal and Health Service Journal called for the rash decision to relax social distancing rules to be lifted.

They warned the government of "falling into another major mistake that will cost many lives".

140,000 Brits have already been vaccinated

Nearly 140,000 Britons were vaccinated against coronavirus in the first seven days after its introduction, according to a government minister.

Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi said 137,897 people have received the Pfizer shock so far, including 108,000 in England, 18,000 in Scotland, 7,897 in Wales and 4,000 in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Zahawi said it was a "really good start" and promised that more people would get the vaccine if more centers were opened. He only provided exact figures for Wales.

The UK's largest vaccination program ever started on December 8th. The health minister promised that "millions" would get the sting before the end of the year.

However, at the current vaccination rate, it will take another six weeks to vaccinate a million people, meaning the target will not be reached until January 25th.

They added: “The public can and should mitigate the effects of the third wave by being as careful as possible over the next several months. But many will see the lifting of restrictions over Christmas as permission to drop their guard. & # 39;

The British Medical Association also urged ministers to reconsider the Christmas regulations.

Experts continued to alarm about the risks of today's Christmas season.

Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, said Christmas celebrations should be held in the "most humble manner" when there is a need to mix households.

She told BBC Breakfast: “I think when this decision was made to achieve this relaxation we were in a slightly different position than we are now, in the middle of the lockdown in England, should the tougher tier system be introduced. and I think the governments were hoping the numbers would keep going down, and they are not.

"Just to emphasize, we have a lot of people in the hospital now – over 18,000 – we are really getting closer to the high of just over 20,000 we had in April."

She said that while it would be safest not to mix the budgets, there are some exceptions and that the celebrations should be postponed if possible.

Union leader Sir Keir Starmer yesterday tried to pressure the government to end the amnesty. In a letter to the Prime Minister, Sir Keir said: “The tiered system has not kept the virus under control and has left us little leeway.

"If you make the wrong decision now, the repercussions for our NHS and our economy in the New Year could be dire."

But Tory-Grandee Sir Desmond Swayne said ministers rightly trusted families to celebrate safely.

He added, “As a conservative, I fundamentally believe that individuals make better decisions on behalf of themselves, their families and communities than government or medical journals. The lobby for health and science needs to be put back in its box. & # 39;

According to a government-backed study, the number of coronavirus cases in England fell by a quarter during the second national lockdown. Pictured: a graph showing a decrease in the percentage of positive tests per 10,000 people when the second lockdown began in November

The news came when questions about the Christmas bubble plan surfaced in a surge in cases last night as the emergence of the new strain of Covid threw another element into the situation.

In a blunt editorial yesterday, the BMJ and HSJ said: “When the government was working out its current plans for a budget mix over Christmas, it had assumed that the demand for Covid-19 to the NHS would decline.

"But it's not like that, it's rising, and the emergence of a new strain of the virus has brought more potential dangers with it."

“The public can and should mitigate the effects of the third wave by being as cautious as possible over the next several months.

“But many will see the lifting of restrictions over Christmas as permission to drop their guard.

& # 39; The government was too slow to put restrictions in place in the spring and again in the fall.

"It should now reverse its hasty decision to allow household shuffling and instead extend the tiers over the five-day holiday season to bring the numbers down before a likely third wave."

"It should also review and strengthen the tiered structure that failed to suppress infection and hospitalization rates."

The article added that "the government is about to fall into another major mistake that will cost many lives".

"If our political leaders do not take quick and determined action, they can no longer claim to protect the NHS," it said.

Following the report, Chris Hopson, head of the NHS provider group of hospitals, told the Times that the government may have to make "tough decisions" but the consequences of a third surge in Covid-19 cases would be far worse. & # 39;

Meanwhile, Chaand Nagpaul, director of the British Medical Association, told the Times, “While we understand that many families want to spend time together, we know that no one wants to put a family member or friend at risk by contracting the virus.

"We would like to urge everyone to do everything possible to avoid this."

Meanwhile, Oxford University Professor James Naismith said he expected the number of cases to surge after Christmas.

He said, “The likelihood of an exponential increase due to the relaxation over Christmas means that high case numbers at the start of Christmas will make January dramatically worse.

But he said celebratory gatherings could be made safer, adding, “If the visit is short, wash your hands thoroughly, wear a mask if possible, sit apart, and ventilate the room. If two households join a household over Christmas, it is helpful if everyone in the household breaks off all other contacts at least five days in advance. & # 39;

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Sage government advisory group, said, "Just because we can meet with two other households doesn't mean we should."

However, Professor Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia said gatherings were a "tolerable risk," adding that shops and schools will close during the holiday season and people will not go to work, lowering the R-rate.

"While there is a risk in it, on the flip side, January is generally a very bad month for people's mental health," he said.

Mr. Hunter later told the Telegraph, “If you stay with an infected person for less than five days, the risk is about one in eight. If that person is asymptomatic, the risk is even lower, around one in 20. & # 39;

Scientists said research by Imperial College, published three weeks ago, showed that the likelihood of a virus mixing at home for a short period of time was around five percent.

In the meantime, politicians also urged caution. Ms Sturgeon said in the Scottish Parliament yesterday: “Later today there will be a discussion on four nations to take stock of recent developments. For now, however, I would like to exercise extreme caution.

“If you can avoid mingling with other households over Christmas, especially indoors, please do so.

"But if you find it essential – and we have tried pragmatically to see that some people will – please reduce your unnecessary contacts as much as possible until then."

Mr Drakeford told the Welsh Parliament, "Regardless of how the UK governments resolve this problem, there will be a very, very balanced series of judgments between different types of damage caused by what is done."

Mr Drakeford said the "virulence" of Covid-19 this winter was not predicted from modeling that was being done in many parts of the world.

"I will discuss directly with Michael Gove whether the four-nation agreement we have reached continues to have slightly more advantages than disadvantages or whether there is another balance that we should strive for," he told the Senedd.

& # 39; Damage is being done in both directions.

“It hurts when people come together over Christmas in a way that is not responsible and not following all the advice we have given people.

"If we are to keep people from meeting over Christmas, people's sense of mental health will be damaged in different ways than people's sense of how to get through this incredibly difficult year together."

He added, “The choice is bleak, isn't it? I've been reading heartbreaking requests from people on my own email account for the past few days not to reverse what we agreed to do for Christmas.

“People who live all alone and have made arrangements to be with people for the first time tell me that this is the only thing they have been looking forward to in the past few weeks.

"Yet we know that if people don't responsibly use the modest amount of additional freedom, we will see an impact on our already pressurized health services."

Greenwich Council Chairman Danny Thorpe has told all schools in south east London to close on Monday evening as he warned that the situation in Covid-19 is "escalating extremely quickly". The infection rate per 100,000 inhabitants of the capital was 191.8 on December 6, compared to 158.1 in the previous week. Pictured: Infection rates in London by county week through December 6th

Greenwich Council Chairman Danny Thorpe has told all schools in south east London to close on Monday evening as he warned that the situation in Covid-19 is "escalating extremely quickly". The infection rate per 100,000 inhabitants of the capital was 191.8 on December 6, compared to 158.1 in the previous week. Pictured: Infection rates in London by county week through December 6th

Can i see my mom or not? Families suspended by last-minute Christmas bubble changes in Wales and Scotland are calling for urgent responses. So what are the new rules?

Confusion was created over Christmas plans weeks after Brits were told Covid-19 restrictions would be eased to limit mixing over the festive season.

The détente has been jeopardized by rising infection rates and warnings that freedoms will lead to increasing deaths and overwhelm the NHS.

The laws that allow people to mingle to some extent over Christmas have stayed the same today, but cracks have appeared in the counsels of the four nations.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised people to "have a merry Christmas" and said the three budget bubbles were "highs, not targets".

He said the laws would stand, but urged people to delay the unvaccinated elderly relatives and "a smaller Christmas becomes a safer Christmas".

Now Wales has said oOnly two households – instead of three – should form a bubble, and that too will be completely closed for at least three weeks from December 28th.

The Scots were informed by Nicola Sturgeon that meetings should be outside, but the inside should only be for a day, and pPeople shouldn't stay overnight.

In Northern Ireland, people were told to take "everyone and every precaution" when they come together, and Further restrictions cannot be ruled out after the relaxation has ended.

Here we look at some of the key items for each of the nations for Christmas:

How many people can you have in your Christmas bubble?


Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, "We don't want to criminalize people's long-standing plans."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, "We don't want to criminalize people's long-standing plans."

The regulations provide for a five-day “Christmas Window” from December 23rd to 27th, during which people can create exclusive bubbles from up to three households across the UK.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "we don't want to criminalize people's long-standing plans" but warned people to be "extremely careful" in their actions.

He said that individuals "should exercise a high level of personal responsibility", especially when considering meeting older people who have not been vaccinated.

Mr Johnson added that the UK governments "are asking you to think carefully and in detail about the days ahead and whether you can do more to protect yourself and others".

He said the laws would stay the same, but "we all want to send the same message" that "a smaller Christmas will be a safer Christmas".


First Welsh Minister Mark Drakeford changed his advice to the public in Wales today

First Welsh Minister Mark Drakeford changed his advice to the public in Wales today

Mr Johnson told the Commons that there was "a unanimous agreement" between the four nations that "we should, in principle, proceed with the existing regulations".

But First Minister Mark Drakeford changed his advice to the Welsh public today, despite apparently not changing the law for Christmas in Wales.

He said the new position was that "only two households should come together to form an exclusive Christmas bubble" over the five-day period.

"The fewer people we mix in our homes, the less likely we are to catch or spread the virus," he said. “None of us want to be sick this Christmas. And we don't want to give coronavirus to our close family members or friends. & # 39;

Wales will then be under full lockdown for the first three weeks from December 28th.

All non-essential retail stores will close on Christmas Eve, and all hospitality will close on Christmas Day after 6 p.m. However, restrictions on the household mix will only be introduced after the five days of relaxed measures at Christmas.


Nicola Sturgeon presented different rules for Scotland at Christmas

Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her "strong recommendation" is that people do not mix households during the period

Nicola Sturgeon said her "strong recommendation" is that people don't mix households over the period, which is "clearly the safest way to spend Christmas".

The Scottish First Minister said that meetings should be outdoors whenever possible, but if it was "important" to meet indoors, she advised people to only meet for a day and not stay overnight.

Ms. Sturgeon urged people not to travel between areas with high and low infection rates and urged people to think about "postponing" Christmas.

“The reality is this Christmas just can't be normal. However, we have every reason to hope that next year will be a lot more normal, ”she added.

The Scottish government previously said people should keep numbers within a bubble as low as possible and minimize the length of contact between different households in the bubble.

Scotland has also said that "different people in one household should not pick their own bladders".


Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster said people should take "every precaution" when they get together

Northern Ireland's First Minister Arlene Foster said people should take "every precaution" when they get together

First Minister Arlene Foster said people should take "every precaution" when they get together for Christmas but couldn't rule out further restrictions in the following days.

Health Secretary Robin Swann will make proposals to the Stormont executive later today for further Covid-19 restrictions, but Ms. Foster said she did not expect a recommendation on new measures to be put in place before the festive break.

Mrs Foster said she had taken note of the stricter advice from her counterpart in Wales on the budget mix but added: 'I will not anticipate what the minister will bring us, but no doubt we will have something to say tomorrow and in the years to come Days. & # 39;

Can I travel between nations, for example from England to Scotland?

Yes. You're allowed to travel between England's plains and the four nations of Great Britain to meet your Christmas bubble.

However, Nicola Sturgeon has advised people not to travel between areas with high and low infection rates.

This means that anyone traveling to Scotland from London, a tier three area, will be discouraged from doing so, even though they are not breaking the law.

Will the Wales lockdown cut Christmas plans?

No. The lockdown begins on December 28th, one day after the Christmas bubble ends.

Should I follow the rules of the stage I am traveling to or the stage I came from in building my Christmas bubble?

If you are traveling in England to join your bladder, be sure to follow the animal rules of your destination.

In Scotland you need to stick with your bladder where it takes you and you should follow travel advice for the level you are at.

For example, people housed in a level 3 area cannot take a trip to a level 2 area.

Can I travel to tier 3 areas?

Yes, there is nothing in the law to stop this. However, Boris Johnson has asked people not to travel from an area with high prevalence to an area with low prevalence.

What is a Christmas bubble and when can I join one?

People across the UK are allowed to form an exclusive Christmas bubble made up of people from no more than three households between December 23rd and 27th.

This law applies across the UK. Christmas bubbles can only meet in private homes and gardens, places of worship and public outdoor areas.

Should I try to cut my Christmas bubble now?

Yes. Although the law says you can have three households in your bladder, Boris Johnson advised people to reduce the number of people and days of socializing if possible.

Can I create a Christmas blister if I am extremely clinically susceptible?

Yes, but people are being warned that there is greater risk involved.

If someone does decide to join a bubble, they should take extra precautions, while other members of the group should be extra vigilant in the days leading up to the get-together.

Can I visit older relatives?

People were advised not to visit elderly relatives unless they had received their coronavirus vaccine. But there is nothing in the law that says that.

Can I be in more than one Christmas bubble?

No. Christmas bubbles are pinned for the period that they are allowed. You also can't change your Christmas bubble once it's formed.

Family in Wales scraps Christmas plans after seeing hospital staff on their knees

Geoff Leyshon, 74, of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, said his entire family decided a week ago to abandon their plans after seeing workers at nearby Prince Charles Hospital "on their knees".

Geoff Leyshon, 74, of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, said his entire family decided a week ago to ditch their plans

Geoff Leyshon, 74, of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, said his entire family decided a week ago to ditch their plans

He said, “For us, for all of them, and for me, it was just common sense. We were told we can do it … but we felt, no, we can't!

"I appreciate the difficulty, the mental stress and everything that goes with it."

Mr Leyshon added that it would take "a lot of courage" for politicians to change their minds so soon before Christmas.

Is there a limit to the number of people in a Christmas bubble?

The Cabinet Office's guidelines only state that the bladder cannot include anyone from more than three households.

However, it does highlight that the more people someone sees, the more likely they are to catch or spread Covid-19, and ask the public to consider the risks before agreeing to a bubble forming.

Do you need to self-isolate before you form a bubble?

Not legally, but Boris Johnson said today that people have been asked to reduce the number of people they are in contact with to the lowest possible number in the five days leading up to Christmas.

Do we have to create social distance within the Christmas bubbles?

Social distancing is not required in bubbles, but people are advised to use restraint and judgment when trying to mingle with vulnerable friends or family members.

This means that for the first time in months, friends and family will have the chance to hug.

What if I isolate myself?

If you have Covid symptoms or need to self-isolate, you must not join a Christmas bubble.

If someone tests positive for coronavirus or develops symptoms in a Christmas bladder between December 23-27, or up to 48 hours after the bladder last met, all bladder members must self-isolate.

Can I find myself in a different Christmas bubble than people I normally live with?

According to the guidance from the Cabinet Office, you can create a different Christmas bubble than the people you normally live with.

To prevent virus transmission in your normal household and between bubbles, people should try to stick with a different member of their Christmas bubble between December 23rd and 27th, if possible.

Additional precautions like cleaning surfaces and door handles and letting in fresh air after someone visits your household are also recommended.

Can I still meet people outside of my Christmas bubble?

You can meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside of your home according to the rules at the stage you are in.

The tier system of restrictions applies to England, with rules varying in other parts of the UK.

Can I stay overnight with my Christmas bubble?

Yes, legally. With someone in your Christmas bubble, you can visit each other's houses and stay overnight, even in private rental apartments.

However, Boris Johnson has advised people not to stay overnight to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to one another.

When can I travel to and from my Christmas bubble?

You should only travel to meet your bladder and return home between December 23rd and 27th.

"It's just too big a risk for us," says the daughter, who feared the parents would be worried

Katherine Carter, 37, of Southampton, changed her own plans just yesterday based on concerns from her parents.

She described the government's easing of restrictions as a "nice thought" before adding, "it's just too big a risk for us".

Katherine Carter, 37, of Southampton, changed her own plans just yesterday based on concerns from her parents

Katherine Carter, 37, of Southampton, changed her own plans just yesterday based on concerns from her parents

She continued, “I was concerned that they (parents) would be concerned and wanted to know what they were thinking.

As soon as I mentioned it, they confirmed they were concerned and thought it best to change plans, which I thought sounded sensible.

"We're looking forward to a quiet Christmas if it helps keep them safe and less stressed."

For those traveling to or from Northern Ireland, they can travel on December 22nd and 28th, but shouldn't hit their Christmas bubble until December 23rd and 27th.

Travel outside of these periods is only permitted in exceptional cases, for example if you need to isolate yourself.

People are advised to avoid unnecessary stops on their trip and not to share a car with people who are not in their household.

When crossing borders, travelers should read the local coronavirus guidelines as different rules may apply.

Does my support bubble still count as a household?

According to the cabinet, existing support bubbles are counted as one household that helps to limit the Christmas bubble for three households.

A support bubble in England is defined as a support network between a single adult household or a household with one adult with one or more people under the age of 18 on June 12th and another household of any size.

Budget bubble rules are different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and full Christmas guidelines from these nations are pending.

Can childcare bubbles persist?

In England one household joins another household to provide informal childcare for children under the age of 13.

You can continue to use a childcare bubble between December 23 and 27, but "only if this is reasonable" and "if there are no reasonable alternatives," the cabinet guidelines say.

If they meet socially during this time, the two households should form a Christmas bubble, with another household allowed to join the grouping.

Again, the guidelines in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may differ.

What happens to children whose parents are separated?

Children under the age of 18 can be part of their parents' Christmas bubbles if the adults do not live together and separate groups are formed.

Nobody else is allowed to be in two bubbles.

Can Nursing Home Residents Join The Christmas Bubbles?

In England, visits outside of care homes should only be considered for residents of working age.

A nursing home resident who is allowed to leave the house can only create a bubble with one other household, subject to a house agreement and individual risk assessments, and should never create a three-household Christmas bubble.

When a nursing home resident comes into a household for Christmas, they should keep social distance and take steps to minimize risks.

Can students returning from university participate in Christmas bubbles?

Students heading home for the holidays are seen as part of the household they are returning to.

Growing concerns about the health of the mother, 71, prompt the son to cancel

Marlene Kayley, 71

Marlene Kayley, 71

Marlene Kayley, 71, of Lancashire, had planned to see her son but his growing concern for his mother's health led him to cancel.

"At first they thought they were going to make a three-family bubble," Ms. Kayley said of her son and his fiancé.

“My son's fiancé (mid 60s) parents said they didn't want to risk socializing over Christmas so they wouldn't see them.

"My son then expressed concern that if he were asymptomatic he would never live with himself if he infected me and I died."

The decision was only made two weeks ago – and Ms. Kayley said she understood her son's choice but was left disappointed.

"After the year we've had, starting with not being able to see him on Mother's Day … I can't say that I've gotten used to the excitement caused by all the restrictions.

"Yes, I am disappointed and understand my son's fears."

Can my bladder have Christmas dinner in the pub together?

No. According to the rules, Christmas bubbles cannot meet indoors such as pubs, hotels, retail stores, theaters or restaurants.

In England, the rules about who you can and can't meet still depend on what restrictions a venue is in.

Can I stay in a hotel for Christmas?

In England you can stay in a hotel during the Christmas season, even in a Tier 3 area, but only alone or with members of your household.

When do I have to decide my bladder up?

The government has advised people to decide on their bladder by Friday. However, this is not enshrined in law – it is not illegal to change it.

Will we face tighter restrictions in January to make up for this?

We do not know yet. It has been speculated that another breaker might be needed in January or February if transmission rates increase during the Christmas season.

The Prime Minister has urged families to still be "very careful" and warn of "a big Christmas" that could risk another lockdown in January.

Will the tiered restrictions continue to apply during the Christmas bubble?

Yes. Most of the tiered restrictions still apply. For example, pubs and restaurants in Tier 3 areas are not open as usual over Christmas.

What do the experts think about it?

Two leading medical journals have urged the government to abandon its "hasty" decision.

In a rare joint editorial, the British Medical Journal and the Health Service Journal said the government was "falling into another major mistake that will cost many lives".

They added that the government had been too slow to put restrictions in place in the spring and again in the fall, and that restrictions were needed over Christmas before a "likely third wave".

Can I go to the Boxing Day sale and celebrate the New Year?

Boris Johnson has urged people to avoid the crowds in Boxing Day sales, adding that "no one should come together in large groups to see the New Year".

When did the situation improve?

Boris Johnson said, "With the vaccine and all the other measures we're taking, we know this country will get better by Easter."

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