Christmas Covid relaxation to be the same UK-wide

The relaxation of coronavirus rules over the Christmas period is likely to be the same throughout the UK, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

By Scott Macnab
Thursday, 19th November 2020, 2:53 pm

The Scottish Government is working with other UK administrations on a "four nations approach" to easing restrictions to allow families to meet up over the festive period, the First Minister told MSPs.

The plan is expected to be made public next week.

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Country Business grows around 200,00 Christmas trees every year and prepares to cut down 100,000 trees over the festive period. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The UK-wide approach is being adopted on account of "family patterns" across the UK, the SNP leader said.

It marks a shift in the approach that has been adopted throughout the pandemic so far, which has seen Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland adopt their own distinctive approach to lockdown measures

"I took part in a four nations discussion yesterday with Michael Gove from the UK Government, the First Minister of Wales and the First Minister of Northern Ireland," Ms Sturgeon said.

"Amongst other things we discussed the Christmas period and how we could come to a sensible, and I stress sensible, and safe plan that will allow people not 100 per cent normality over Christmas, but a greater degree of normality and in particular the ability to spend some time with loved ones.

"From that meeting yesterday, we charged officials, advised by our respective chief medical officers, to put together a concrete proposal. We will then consider and then hopefully announce the detail in the coming days."

The plan is likely to published next week, Ms Sturgeon told MSPs today.

"We're all determined, if possible, that we come to a four nations agreement given family patterns across the UK and we're all determined, I think to as best as we possibly can, strike the right balance between the understandable desire, which I share to see family over the Christmas period, which is so special to so many of us, but also to do that in a way that does not lead to increased loss of life and increased harm to health over the January period.

"That is not going to be an easy balance to strike."

The existing move to put large areas of Scotland into level four restrictions has been undertaken to bring down cases and allow greater freedom over the festive period.

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