The prospect of relaxing rules over Christmas in Britain is apparently being placed under review – with talks set to take place later this afternoon.
Sky News reports that the Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove will be holding a meeting with representatives from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as the nations reconsider easing measures over the festive period.
The four countries originally struck an agreement to relax some rules between 23-27 December – temporarily allowing travel between tiers and borders and giving three households freedom to mix indoors.
But a recent spike in coronavirus cases – which may be due to a new variant of the virus – has put ministers under pressure to reconsider the ‘Christmas bubble’ rules.
According to Sky, a number of potential ideas are on the table – including reducing the number of days people can mix, moving the window entirely, or keeping things as they are and simply ‘toughening up the message’.
The Health Service Journal and British Medical Journal this week described loosening rules over Christmas as a “rash” decision that “could cost many lives.”
Both journals suggested the UK should follow the examples of Germany, Italy and the Netherlands elsewhere in Europe – who have tightened restrictions across the festive period.
Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham had also previously expressed concern that the rules were “allowing too much.”
According to Sky, Gove is set to speak with representatives from the devolved nations around 5pm.