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Toy stores urge the government to "save Christmas" and ease the chaos in the UK ports


Huge queues with trucks lined up in Dover and Calais as the chaos in the UK container ports, pre-Brexit stockpiling and the pandemic resulted in significant delays.

Containers were unloaded from one of the largest ships in the world, Ever Gifted, at Felixstowe Port in Suffolk today. The massive ship with a size of 399 by 59 meters left the Taiwanese capital Taipei on November 10 and traveled to Felixstowe after a stopover in Egypt and Europe.

The unloaded cargo could help reduce truck queues in the UK port after toy industry insiders warned a number of toy orders will now miss Christmas.

The British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA), the BRC and the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) are calling on the government to intervene in the ports of Felixstowe and Southampton and "save the festive season" by bringing more cargo to the UK .

There were queues of up to ten miles in Dover and Calais this afternoon as retailers crossed the canal to avoid the confused container ports.

Helen Dickinson, General Manager of BRC, said: “After a very challenging 2020, many companies are under severe cash flow pressure and companies are unable to cover these additional shipping costs. As a result, consumers pay the final price.

“Christmas orders could be delayed and retailers may have no choice but to increase product prices. These issues urgently need to be addressed. An investigation would provide the necessary controls to allow our ports to flow freely again. & # 39;

It is because buyers are hard hit by delays in UK ports Some of the most wanted Christmas gifts have risen by as much as £ 40 each over the past week, Mail Online can reveal.

Moving a container of goods from Qingdao, China, to the UK now costs $ 10,000 (£ 7,500) per load – four times the usual price – and after a terrible year for businesses, the British Retail Consortium, consumers are paying the final price before that warned.

MailOnline research on reputable consumer site PriceSpy found that a Nintendo Switch costs an average of £ 279.85 in stores or online today – £ 10 more since the start of the month.

The price of a Barbie dream home has increased by £ 40 to £ 280.97 over the same period, while Star Wars Lego, which is in short supply this Christmas, has increased by £ 15 to £ 99 for a spaceship set.

An electric scooter – considered the most wanted Christmas present by many experts – costs an average of £ 30-139.99 as so many have been held up in ports in China, Europe and the UK due to a global shipping crisis.

With ongoing congestion in UK ports, many Christmas toys, gifts and stocking fillers are unlikely to get on time to companies losing a million pounds or more as shipments have been delayed and prices have quadrupled.

Giant traffic queues have formed on both sides of the canal – pictured outside of Calais today – as the chaos in UK container ports forces companies to import goods via ferries and the Channel Tunnel

Scooters, dollhouses, Lego and Nintendo Switch consoles are among the rising prices, according to PriceSpy

Scooters, dollhouses, Lego and Nintendo Switch consoles are among the rising prices, according to PriceSpy

Scooters, dollhouses, Lego and Nintendo Switch consoles are among the rising prices, according to PriceSpy

Trucks stood in line all night for the port of Dover (pictured today) along the A20 in Kent as Dover TAP (Traffic Access Protocol) is implemented due to the high volume of freight traffic, largely due to problems in container ports

In one familiar scene, trucks snake up to 10 miles around the A20 as trucks attempt to exit the UK after bringing cargo into the UK

Freight cars queuing for the Channel Tunnel at Folkestone as the UK ports are far busier than usual

Freight cars queuing for the Channel Tunnel at Folkestone as the UK ports are far busier than usual

Migrants get on the A16 motorway today in a truck that leads to the Channel Tunnel in Coquelles near Calais

Migrants get on the A16 motorway today in a truck that leads to the Channel Tunnel in Coquelles near Calais

That was the scene in Calais today as trucks lined up to board the freight shuttle at the Eurotunnel terminal in Coquelles near Calais

That was the scene in Calais today as trucks lined up to board the freight shuttle at the Eurotunnel terminal in Coquelles near Calais

French roads are also jammed with traffic as retailers try other ways to bring shipments to the UK

French roads are also jammed with traffic as retailers try other ways to bring shipments to the UK

Rising shipping costs and a shortage of inventory in the UK caused by the chaos of Covid in China and a jam at the container ports of Felixstowe and Southampton mean shoppers looking to buy gifts in the week before Christmas are likely to pay more.

Three main problems causing delays in UK ports

Today's problems in ports like Felixstowe, Southampton, London Gateway and Dover are caused by a number of problems that are occurring concurrently and are not unique to the UK.

A new truck booking system has been disrupting Felixstowe in the past few weeks, but trade organization Logistics UK today downplayed the problem, stating that the new regulations are "embedded".

Industry insiders say that there are three main problems behind the chaos:

COVID – Lack of shipping containers

The system for shipping goods around the world stopped working properly when the economies closed and reopened at different times when they dealt with Covid.

This left shipping companies lagging behind when it came to fetching empty containers from European ports and bringing them back to factories in Asia.

The shortage of containers is exacerbated by the shortage of manpower across the global supply chain – including seafarers, shippers and warehouse workers – due to illness or quarantine.

The problems caused by Covid have been exacerbated by an increase in demand caused by:

BREXIT – Customs and storage

If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, tariffs will be applied to imported goods according to World Trade Organization rules at the end of the transition period.

Companies therefore store goods for fear of having to pay customs duties or because they fear that new customs procedures after Brexit will delay imports.

CHRISTMAS RUSH

Around Christmas, the demand for goods keeps rising, which makes the problems worse.

Industry associations want an investigation into the issues and are calling on Boris Johnson to clean up containers of PPE clogging the docks and bring more staff back from vacation to reduce congestion. They also want other ports like Liverpool, Hull, Portsmouth, Tilbury and London Gateway to catch more of the slack.

Retailers have stated that toys, games, puzzles and dolls ordered from China in August and September keep getting after delays in Asia and problems with unloading in the UK that resulted in many containers being unloaded in Zeebrugge, Belgium have not yet arrived.

The problems have resulted in delays in Dover, where 2,000 additional trucks with containers cross the canal every day as driving in is the only way to get to the UK for Christmas.

Apple's new £ 550 Airpods Max may not arrive in many households until after Easter, while the £ 450 Sony PS5 console is sold out at Currys PC World, Argos and Amazon. Many kitchen appliances such as kitchen machines, coffee machines, kettles, toasters and utensils are delayed well into January.

Leeds-based toy designer Boxer Gifts, which makes its products in China, says it will lose 1 million pounds this year because the Christmas order doesn't get due until December 28th.

Managing Director Thomas O & # 39; Brien said products they sell to retailers, including Paperchase, get stuck in Europe after they fail to dock at Felixstowe.

He told the BBC: "Some of the ships are bypassing the UK and tipping in European ports, while others are just slowing down because there is nowhere to unload," he said.

“Various games and toys for filling stockings like Grow-a-Sloth are very popular, but we have had inventory failures for months because deliveries are delayed and cost us our sales.

“More importantly, consumer availability is reduced to find fun gifts. It's less about that. & # 39;

Sheffield toy store owner Hellen Stirling-Baker says 40 percent of her annual sales come from a £ 20,000 delivery of Dinkum Dolls due in the fall and expected to arrive on January 7th.

She said, “I just received an order today that I placed three weeks ago and only part of it came. The rest of them are stuck in ports, ”she said. "Demand has been very high, but stocks are low."

For more than a week Dover has been crowded with 24-hour queues with 2,000 more trucks than usual between the UK and Europe every day.

Emergency measures have been taken on roads across Kent to deal with a tidal wave of trucks that is now believed to be 12,000 a day or more.

And the scenes have been seen in other ports across the UK, including Felixstowe and Southampton, as well as in ports in France where companies are racing for deliveries on time for Christmas.

The congestion at the container ports means that many carriers are switching to ferries and the Channel Tunnel to meet their delivery destinations. Around 2,000 additional trucks cross the Channel Tunnel every day, mostly to Great Britain, in addition to the 10,000 that have already been crossed in an average of 24 hours.

Britain's Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) says Boris Johnson's government must act today.

A spokesman said: "We would like to urge the government, at this crucial economic time, to help save the festive season and remove blockades before the UK leaves the EU."

However, a Department of Transport (DfT) spokesman said: “This is not a problem unique to the UK as ports around the world have similar problems with container capacity.

& # 39; The government is working closely with the freight industry to address the challenges some of our ports are facing.

“The ports are employing more staff and working with freight forwarders to improve container collection and with shipping companies to make the most of port capacity. We will do everything we can to resolve the situation as soon as possible. "

Stocking fillers like Grow-a-Sloth and Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire games are sold out due to port problems

Stocking fillers like Grow-a-Sloth and Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire games are sold out due to port problems

Stocking fillers like Grow-a-Sloth and Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire games are sold out due to port problems

Retailers who want more deliveries of Dinkum dolls in the fall are not expected to ship before January 7th

Retailers who want more deliveries of Dinkum dolls in the fall are not expected to ship before January 7th

The gifts that may NOT arrive this Christmas: Delivery of Barbies, Scalextric and Peppa Pig toys is affected by delays after problems with Covid's supply chain wreak havoc in UK ports

The UK is experiencing a shortage of Christmas gifts with chaos in the ports, which means deliveries of popular items like Barbies, Micro-Scalextric and Peppa Pig toys may not arrive before December 25th. Go-karts, scooters and Paw Patrol merchandise are among the other gifts for children in ports due to a global shipping crisis. Gifts like Apple Airpod headphones and Sony PS5 are becoming increasingly difficult to find due to supply chain issues from Covid-hit China, Vietnam and Japan

The UK is experiencing a shortage of Christmas gifts with chaos in the ports, which means deliveries of popular items like Barbies, Micro-Scalextric and Peppa Pig toys may not arrive before December 25th. Go-karts, scooters and Paw Patrol merchandise are among the other gifts for children in ports due to a global shipping crisis. Gifts like Apple Airpod headphones and Sony PS5 are becoming increasingly difficult to find due to supply chain issues from Covid-hit China, Vietnam and Japan

The UK is experiencing a shortage of Christmas gifts with chaos in the ports, which means deliveries of popular products like Barbies, Micro-Scalextric and Peppa Pig toys may not arrive before December 25th.

Go-karts, scooters and Paw Patrol merchandise are among the other children's gifts kept in ports due to a global shipping crisis, according to retailers today.

Must-have gifts like Apple Airpod headphones and Sony PS5s are becoming increasingly difficult to find due to supply chain issues from China, Vietnam, and Japan affected by Covid.

Gary Grant of The Entertainer, the UK's largest independent toy retailer, said deliveries are now three weeks behind schedule and only 15 days to Christmas.

Meanwhile, Derek Crookes of the Toy Retailers Association said, “There is still inventory on the shelves, but some lines may be short of stock.

"Earlier Christmas, some toys ran out because they were very, very popular, but this year a lot of different lines are running out and could run out completely before new stocks hit in January."

The authorities in Kent were forced to implement the so-called Dover TAP, short for Traffic Access Protocol, in order to control the traffic level and the speed.

Kent County Council says it aims to prevent port traffic from affecting the local road network and the A20 through the city of Dover.

The system also allows trucks to queue up on the M20 near junction 11 while they wait to board at the Eurotunnel terminal.

A surge in imports due to the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with the normal surge in demand for imports and inventory at Christmas, sparked by fears of a no-deal Brexit, have created shortages.

The issues have sparked dire warnings that many retailers and manufacturers will face shortages of inventory and encounter supplies of Christmas gifts including toys.

White goods, housewares and building materials are also reportedly held up by the congestion while car maker Honda has temporarily closed its Swindon plant due to difficulties in sourcing parts.

Desperate retailers, supermarkets and department stores are still waiting for their Christmas stock as the chaos in UK ports could seriously disrupt festive deliveries.

Customs delays in processing ships at Felixstowe and a number of other ports can lead to shortages of consumer goods – including toys – so some may not arrive until January.

A specialist Christmas products supplier complained last night that vital festive supplies were buried in a mountain of hundreds of containers.

There are also fears that food imports could rot as a result of the disruption, while supermarket companies claim the delays could cost enormous and drive prices up.

And there are concerns that the lack of imported parts will force factories to follow the example of automaker Honda and stop production.

The problems appear to be the result of a perfect storm caused by a combination of the effects of Covid-19 and stockpiling ahead of the December 31st Brexit deadline.

Industry leaders fear that the introduction of new customs controls in the New Year will fuel the crisis without urgent action to remove the bottlenecks.

Some retailers say only one in five shipments arrived in September and October that reached the supply of scooters, Barbie dolls, and other toys before Christmas.

High street chains are reporting shortages of white goods like washing machines and fridges, while home builders are running out of supplies like power tools, screws, wood and roof tiles.

At the same time, shipping lines are charging UK importers massive "congestion charges", in some cases hundreds of thousands of pounds, due to the delays. This is to cover the dead time ships spend in ports rather than going back to sea.

A new truck booking system has caused disruptions at Felixstowe (pictured) in the past few weeks, but the trade organization Logistics UK downplayed this problem today and stated that the new regulations are "litter".

A new truck booking system has caused disruptions at Felixstowe (pictured) in the past few weeks, but the trade organization Logistics UK downplayed this problem today and stated that the new regulations are "litter".

In a joint letter to the Chairs of the Commons Transport Select Committee and the Commons International Trade Committee, they wrote that some shipping costs have more than doubled compared to last year.

A food manufacturer suffered a loss of more than £ 1 million in sales due to a shortage during the crucial festive period, the letter said.

The BRC and FDF would like the committees to conduct an investigation into the chaos in the ports and the functioning of the shipping market.

A number of issues have resulted in a traffic jam, including an increase in imports after the end of the first coronavirus lockdown, inventory related to Brexit and containers of personal protective equipment that are not picked up at ports.

Tim Rycroft, FDF Chief Operating Officer added, “Food and beverage manufacturers are extremely concerned about the delays we are seeing in ports.

“Our members have costs in the tens of thousands and in some cases hundreds of thousands.

"It has a direct impact on companies' ability to stock up on products and ingredients before the end of the transition period."

Dixons Carphone announced Wednesday that it has been hit by the congestion, with delays of up to two days for some of its goods. But the company said it could "handle" the delays and had long been preparing for the Brexit interruption.

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 stayed the same, but there were cracks in counsel in 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?

ENGLAND – THREE (LAW)

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".

WALES – TWO (NOTE) / THREE (LAW)

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

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

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 yesterday, 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.

SCOTLAND – ONE (CONSULTATION) / THREE (LAW)

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 – THREE (LAW)

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 was set to make proposals to the Stormont executive yesterday 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 yesterday that people were 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."

One in four Britons will break the rules of Christmas Covid, despite Chris Whitty bleak warning that the mixing will KILL – as Boris says, decide your bubbles and start pre-isolating TODAY, avoid Boxing Day sales and see Do not have older relatives

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

One in four Britons says they will break the rules of Christmas Covid despite Chris Whitty's grim warning that shuffling households over the Christmas season could lead to an increase in deaths.

England's chief medical officer issued the sharp warning last night that the New Year's Christmas mix will result in more coronavirus deaths when he stated "this is no time to relax" at all.

Professor Whitty bluntly stated that because of the loose rules, the virus will kill more Britons in the five-day break between December 23-27, comparing the situation to driving at 100 km / h on an icy road – and said that this is legal, but legal is not sensitive & # 39 ;.

But when he broke the grim message, a poll last night revealed that 22 percent of Britons believe it is acceptable to "easily" break the rules by creating a Christmas bubble with four households instead of the three allowed.

The results of the YouGov poll for the Times said that 33 percent would also be willing to break the rules by spending an extra day with family members – beyond the government's four-day window.

Poll results from a poll earlier this week were released hours after Professor Whitty made his dire prediction about the impact of the eased Christmas restrictions.

When he cast a somber tone next to Boris Johnson at a press conference on Downing Street last night, he said: “Any kind of time when people come together in groups who otherwise would not meet increases the risk and too an increase in the risks of hospitalizations and deaths.

“This is the equivalent of saying that these are icy and treacherous conditions … just because you can doesn't mean you should … This is not a moment to relax at all. On the contrary. & # 39;

These are daily coronavirus infections that increased 50 percent in the UK yesterday. In the past 24 hours, health chiefs recorded 25,161 cases.

The number of deaths from Covid-19 has increased by 14 percent compared to the previous week. 612 new victims were reported today, compared to 533 a week ago.

Despite the dire message from Professor Whitty, Mr Johnson urged the British to have a "happy Christmas" with an emphasis on "little" as he denied that the plan for bubbles would wreak havoc across Britain. 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.

The prime minister said allowing three households to mingle over five days is a "maximum". He advised people to determine their bladders by Friday and isolate them in advance if possible, and avoid elderly 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.

The government released its official Christmas policy tonight, recommending that families end any "unnecessary social contact outside of your immediate household" as soon as possible and for at least five days before they meet in their bladder.

It also suggests that those over 70 and those who are "clinically susceptible" are considering whether they need to be in a bladder at all.

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.

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". He adopted a somber tone next to the Prime Minister

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". He adopted a somber tone next to the Prime Minister

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 when 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.

The World Health Organization urges families to wear masks for Christmas

The World Health Organization has asked families to wear face masks and social distancing at Christmas get-togethers to reduce the risk of the spread of the coronavirus.

The UN agency said the measures would "go a long way" in saving lives and preventing loved ones from getting sick, but admitted they "may feel uncomfortable".

In the updated guidelines released yesterday, the WHO warned that Europe was on the verge of a third wave of Covid-19 that could peak in the first few weeks of the new year.

The body said mixing it over Christmas could worsen the spread of the virus and make the January peak more deadly.

The new guidelines state: “Indoor gatherings, even smaller ones, can be particularly risky as they bring together groups of young and old people from different households who may not all follow the same infection prevention measures.

“Meetings should be outdoors whenever possible, and participants should wear masks and distance themselves physically. Indoors, limiting group size and ensuring good ventilation are critical to reducing the risk of exposure.

“It may be uncomfortable to wear masks and keep your distance when you are with friends and family, but it goes a long way towards keeping everyone safe and healthy. People at risk and older friends or relatives can find it very difficult to ask their loved ones to stay away physically. & # 39;

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.

Coronavirus cases recorded between March and December in Scotland, England and Wales are listed above. No update for Wales was provided on Sunday due to the planned maintenance of the NHS Welsh Laboratory's information management system

Coronavirus cases recorded between March and December in Scotland, England and Wales are listed above. No update for Wales was provided on Sunday due to the planned maintenance of the NHS Welsh Laboratory's information management system

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.

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.

“I can tell him that there is unanimous agreement throughout the UK government and in all decentralized administrations – including members of all parties, including his own – that we should basically comply with the existing rules because we don't want to criminalize people for long made 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.

Where could ESCAPE Tier 3 be in the final review?

The counties could be split up through new local lockdown levels as MPs demand that rural counties have stricter rules than cities hit harder by Covid-19 as government data shows infection rates divide the parishes in Kent, Leicestershire and Lancashire.

Health chiefs will meet 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.

"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;

Coronavirus deaths recorded between March and December in Scotland, England and Wales are listed above

Coronavirus deaths recorded between March and December in Scotland, England and Wales are listed above

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".

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 (BMA) said yesterday that Mr Johnson should have tightened planned easings between December 23rd and 27th to protect the public.

The union urged people to make "the right decisions" by keeping indoor socializing to an "absolute minimum" during the holidays and not necessarily creating bubbles of three households when allowed.

It also urged the people of England to follow the animal rules for their area before and after the five day Christmas window.

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.

The chairman of the BMA council, Dr. Chaand Nagpaul said: “The relaxation of the rules will undoubtedly cost lives and the impact on the NHS in the new year will be severe.

"For these reasons, as the voice of thousands of doctors, we urge people to think long and hard about how many people they will share their Christmas with."

Dr. Nagpaul added, “None of us knowingly want our loved ones to suffer or endanger their lives, and it is important that we take all precautions to protect one another.

& # 39; The BMA believes the Prime Minister should have taken the opportunity to curtail the easing to protect the people of England – as we saw with the government in Wales.

"Without this change, however, we as doctors will urge people not to meet unless absolutely necessary."

Dr. Nagpaul said doctors were concerned about how the NHS would deal with a renewed surge in infections as hospitals "were already struggling to cope with" huge waiting lists ", including for patients with non-covid diseases.

"The NHS has never been tested at this level and we just don't know how or if it can cope with a third wave of infections," added Dr. Nagpaul added.

Dr. Rachel McCloy, associate professor in the Department of Psychology and Clinical Linguistics at the University of Reading, said the updated Christmas guide was "another example of rapidly changing and ambiguous messages" from the government.

She said, "In times when messaging was mixed or constantly changing, public confidence was shaken and misinterpretations of the rules became more common."

She said a key issue was whether the new, stricter guidance should have accompanied the initial announcement of the Christmas rules, as it was more closely geared to expert medical advice at the time.

Dr. McCloy added, "If the government had made sure that the rules for the Christmas meeting were closely aligned with the guidelines for minimizing infection, people in the UK would have been better helped to make safer choices during the holiday season."

Dr. Simon Clarke, associate professor of cell microbiology at the University of Reading, said it was "unwise" for people, especially the elderly or the clinically vulnerable, to "step outside of the relaxed Christmas restrictions."

He added, "UK governments need to look more closely at how these relaxed restrictions create further momentum for further diffusion and be ready to respond in the New Year."

Experts continued to alert about the risks of the festive 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, 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: “I want to be extremely careful.

“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."

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