Last minute changes to Christmas restrictions could still happen - as fears grow over festive Covid danger

A government minister has urged people to “do the minimum” when seeing family and friends this festive season, as he refused to rule out changes to the Christmas bubble rules.

Appearing on Sky News, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barclay, confirmed that the easing of Covid-19 restrictions over Christmas are being kept under review.

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‘No plans’ to change Christmas rules

“In your mind is there a possibility that the Government might have to change the advice about the five day break?" Barclay was asked by the BBC.

He replied, “I don't think we should misinterpret that advice over the period... it's not that all restrictions are being lifted."

A UK Government source reportedly told The Sun this morning (15 Dec) that there were “no plans” to change the Christmas rules.

The current easing of the rules over Christmas will allow people in the UK to create a Christmas bubble of up to three households and meet between 23 and 27 December.

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Barclay on Sky News said the rules are “not saying that people must go and see family.”

The UK’s Chief Medical Adviser, Professor Chris Whitty, has repeatedly said since the announcement of the Christmas bubble rule that, just because restrictions allow meeting, it doesn't mean people should.

Tougher restrictions before Christmas

The questions to Barclay came after Downing Street announced that the bubbles would go ahead, despite moving areas in England into the Tier 3.

London, and parts of Essex and Herforshire, have been placed into Tier 3 lockdown restrictions.

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Mayor of London, Sadik Khan, called on the Government to review the easing of the rules of Christmas. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, he said, “We heard from Matt Hancock yesterday that it appears the Government is looking at this again. I would encourage them to do so if they are."

David Nabarro, a special envoy from the World Health Organisation, said the price for a relaxation in the rules “could well be very high.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned people in the UK to be careful in the run up to Christmas, stressing that people should be “extremely” cautious about who they see before heading home for the festive period.