Families could be permitted to meet for up to a week at Christmas, under proposals being discussed by UK leaders.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to be in talks about a UK-wide relaxation of rules from December 22 to 28 when several families could be allowed to meet in “bubbles”, according to Westminster sources.
It is thought the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is aware of the proposals and has previously backed a joint “four nations” approach.
However, National Clinical Director professor Jason Leitch sounded a note of caution, saying Christmas is “very, very important” while warning the virus does not “take the day off”.
He said: “Christmas, if we’re going to mix, which we hope to be able to do, then we’re going to have to be really, really careful. Nobody can cancel Christmas…it’s just a matter of how you do Christmas safely.”
He added: “There are meetings today, there will be meetings next week at a four country level about what Christmas will look like across the UK.”
Speaking on Friday, Ms Sturgeon said: “The fact is, the fewer people who are in the population who have Covid by the time we get to Christmas, the lower the risk of people being infected with it during that period.
“It’s very important for me to be clear that the risks would not be zero, which is why we must be very careful about any relaxation over Christmas.
“And people will have to think carefully themselves, even with any relaxation, about what they want to do or not.”
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham also urged caution, calling for a steady approach, saying: “I would also say to the government, don’t just go towards Christmas and let everything loose.
“What you need to do is keep a steady approach.”
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