Boris Johnson U-Turns On 5-Day Christmas Period, Families Can Only Meet On 25th
The prime minister has back-tracked on the government’s plans to allow the UK to see family members for a number of days over the Christmas period.
People across the UK will only be able to visit their families and other households on Christmas Day, a change of the previous plans.
Those who live in areas entering tier 4 – London, the south east and east of England – must not mix with anyone outside their household at Christmas, or travel abroad, though support bubbles remain unaffected.
Across the rest of the country, rules that allow up to three households to meet will now be limited to Christmas Day only.
‘Christmas this year will be different, very different, but we must be realistic. We are sacrificing the chance to see our loved ones this Christmas,’ Boris Johnson said.
Johnson also confirmed that the new restrictions will continue into the new year.
Addressing those at home who will now be spending Christmas alone, Johnson said:
I hope very much that elderly or lonely people who are able to form bubbles will have that consolation.
‘But I suppose what I would say to everybody thinking of having a much reduced Christmas, is that we bitterly regret this is happening. I know how much love and thought goes into Christmas.
He asked people to think of it this way: ‘If they aren’t there to celebrate Christmas with you this year, there’s a better chance they will be there to celebrate with you next year.’
Johnson said there will be no relaxation on December 31, and people must not break the rules for New Year’s Eve.
In the same announcement, Johnson said that London, the south east and east of England will move into a new tier 4.
Under these restrictions, all non-essential retail must shut and people are being told to ‘stay at home’, while people living in tier 4 will be banned from leaving tier 4 areas or staying away from home overnight from tomorrow morning, December 20.
The prime minister also announced that a new variant of coronavirus, identified earlier this month, is spreading rapidly in tier 4 areas.
He said this variant could increase the R rate by 0.4 and is up to 70% more transmissible.
‘Given the early evidence on the new variant of the virus, the potential risk means we cannot continue with Christmas as planned,’ he said.
Patrick Vallance, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, said that in London more than 60% of new cases were the new variant. He said this means it is becoming the dominant variant in terms of transmission.
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