Coronavirus in Scotland: Scots living in shared flats are urged not to split up over Christmas

Scots living in shared flats have been told not to split from their housemates and enter separate “bubbles” over the Christmas period.

Plans announced this week will allow the formation of a single temporary household of up to eight adults from three different households between December 23 and 27.

The UK-wide plans were agreed by Downing Street and the devolved administrations.

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But First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has struck a cautious tone in recent days, saying remaining at home should be the “default” position, while she said the easing of restrictions is a “recognition of a reality that exists over the Christmas period, whether I like it or not”.

Scots living in shared flats have been urged not to split from their housemates and form different “bubbles” over Christmas.

In Scottish Government guidance published on Thursday, housemates in a shared home who do plan to form a bubble elsewhere are told they should self-isolate from each other for “around a week” before they leave, and after their return.

The guidance states: “People (other than students) who live in a shared flat or house are considered a household and our strong advice is that households should not split up and enter separate bubbles over the festive period.

“If you do join different bubbles you should isolate from your flatmates both before and after joining your bubble for around a week.”

For students, a testing regime will be put in place to allow them to return to their term-time address once they have formed a bubble elsewhere.

The guidance also urges caution for those identified as being the most vulnerable to Covid-19.

People who were previously shielding due to an underlying medical condition should “take time to think about what being a bubble means for you”, the advice states.

It adds: “Being part of a bubble would involve greater risks for you as you would be increasing the number of people you have contact with.

“It is important that you do not feel pressured to celebrate the festive season in an environment that makes you anxious.”

The entire bubble will be forced to self-isolate where they are, whether that be at someone else’s home or their own, if one of their number shows coronavirus symptoms or tests positive for the virus.

A positive test, along with travel disruption, are the only two reasons given to allow a person not to return to their normal household by December 27.

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