BORIS Johnson is set to reveal plans for Christmas travel across the UK next week, raising hopes for festive family reunions.
The Prime Minister is expected to announce how families from all four countries will be able to see each other and spread Christmas cheer despite the coronavirus crisis.
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The national lockdown in England is expected to end on December 2 and Mr Johnson is expected to outline his plans to release measures next week.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said this morning ministers were making plans so people can have “a little bit of joy” after a “terrible” year.
No10 insisted that they are trying to agree on the best way people can celebrate a Christmas “as close to normal as possible”.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Mr Hancock said: ‘We hope this Christmas to agree on a set of rules across the UK as so many people are traveling through the UK and this work is in progress. Classes.”
“Christmas is a special time of the year and we have had such a difficult year in 2020 – it has been such a terrible year and having a little bit of hope, joy over Christmas, I know it would be welcomed by so many people.
Mr Hancock warned that “there will have to be rules” to keep everyone safe while satisfying families “who yearn to see their loved ones and have some of the joy that Christmas brings”.
He also brought another dose of good news, saying: “Across the UK we are now seeing this flattening of the curve.”
Leaders of decentralized administrations have stressed that they are working hard to meet with ministers in Westminster and agree on a common set of rules so families are not locked in at borders.
Welsh Prime Minister Mark Drakeford said “general parameters” for a four-country approach had already been agreed and there would be more discussions next week to clarify details.
He said today: “We agreed on some general parameters on Wednesday and sent the officials from the four administrations to work on the details now, so I remain hopeful that it will be possible to achieve this. a four nations approach to Christmas.
“I certainly think it’s the right thing to do – if it’s achievable – and Wales will certainly be at the table next week to strike a deal.”
Nicola Sturgeon this week announced a severe travel ban on the Scottish border – and it will become illegal for Scots to travel to England from 6 p.m. tonight in a dramatic tightening of the rules.
But Ms Sturgeon insisted on the draconian rules, which mean more than two million people in western Scotland, including Glasgow, live in conditions close to the March lockdown.
Outlining the restrictions earlier this week, Ms Sturgeon said they were intentionally for a “limited period” until Dec. 11 to try to save hopes for the holiday season.
The Scottish Prime Minister said: ‘Level 4 is meant to be short and to the point and in this situation it is meant to make an impact before Christmas and the most difficult winter time.
“These decisions will give us the best possible chance – albeit in a limited and cautious way – of being able to ease restrictions in all parts of Scotland for Christmas.”
She added yesterday that she was working with ministers in Westminster to help craft a Christmas plan for 4 nations.
DO NOT TOUCH
The Health Secretary’s message of hope came with a warning – suggesting the British may not be able to give family members a hug when they finally reunite.
Speaking to Times Radio, Mr Hancock stressed that it is essential that people follow the rules of social distancing on Christmas.
He said: ‘What we want is a set of rules that are as consistent as possible across the UK’s four countries, not least because so many people travel to see their families at Christmas, but also respect the fact that we need to follow social distancing to keep the virus under control.
“I have no doubt that people will continue to respect social distancing throughout, because we know it is so important for full control of the virus.”
But leaders will have to fend off the miserable experts who have continued to warn that an easing of restrictions could lead to “tens of thousands” of Covid cases.
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This morning, Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter, statistician and chairman of the Winton Center for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge said the UK may need further crackdown after Christmas.
He warned that the opinion of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) that every day of relaxation of the coronavirus rules at Christmas could require five days of tighter restrictions is “entirely plausible.”
“It is entirely plausible that a few days of relaxation will lead to tens of thousands of additional cases and that means additional deaths and the measures needed to bring them under control,” Sir David told BBC Radio 4.
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