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Government leaders are set to meet again to further discuss plans about lockdown during the Christmas period.
Yesterday a meeting held by Michael Gove and leaders from the three other UK nations discussed the impact of easing the lockdown tier system – however a decision was not reached.
Another meeting between the leaders is set to take place today, Wednesday – on the first day many areas are entering Tier 3 lockdown.
According to early reports from a source, leaders acknowledged that "commitment has been made to people and they will expect us to honour it – but there is a need to be stronger and clearer in guidance and messaging.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly against any changes to plans over Christmas, according to ITV Political Editor Robert Peston – despite health experts urging the leader to reconsider.
It comes just weeks after it was announced Brits will be able to meet their loved ones over Christmas, in their own homes.
But since the announcement, Covid-19 cases have been on the rise – forcing the government to place many Tier 2 areas into Tier 3.
In the meeting held yesterday, December 15, it was decided the leaders are to call on medical and scientific advisors for a final decision.
The prime minister's spokesperson said: "We have set out the Christmas guidance and we have been clear around the need for people to remain cautious and vigilant throughout the Christmas period.
"As we have done throughout the pandemic we keep all advice under constant review."
A spokeswoman for Northern Ireland's first minister Arlene Foster said: “Following this evening's call with counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales, ministers will discuss the current situation with medical and scientific advisers.
Fast-spreading new mutated Covid strain now in Scotland and Wales
“It is expected that an update will be brought to the executive on Thursday.”
A source also revealed discussions on travel over the Christmas period were talked about, but decisions were not yet made.
There are several options being considered in regards to Christmas including:
- Reducing the Christmas period for the relaxation of rules from five days to three days
- Reducing the number of households permitted to mix from three to tow
- Keeping the current rules in place but toughening the messaging
- Allowing travel but restricting it to the same region
- Moving the window to another time.
A Welsh Government source said: "The leaders of the devolved administrations and Michael Gove met this evening to discuss the arrangements over the Christmas period. They will reconvene tomorrow to confirm the position."
The review regarding Christmas came after Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that almost 11 million people would move into tier 3 from 12.01am on Wednesday.
Greater London, parts of Essex and Southern Hertfordshire will move into Tier 3, affecting 61 percent of England’s population.
Brits who want to see elderly family on Christmas should be isolating now, Hancock warns
The next scheduled review of England’s tier system is due to take place on December 16, reports Express.
Mr Hancock claimed a new variant of coronavirus which is growing rapidly, could be responsible for the spike in cases across southern England.
On Monday, the Health Secretary said: “We've currently identified over 1,000 cases with this variant predominantly in the South of England although cases have been identified in nearly 60 different local authority areas.
“We do not know the extent to which this is because of the new variant but no matter its cause we have to take swift and decisive action which unfortunately is absolutely essential to control this deadly disease while the vaccine is rolled out.”
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