Scottish Government to ‘strengthen’ guidance on Christmas Covid-19 relaxation

The Scottish Government will “strengthen” its guidance on the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions over the festive period, the First Minister has announced.

The Scottish Government will “strengthen” its guidance on the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions over the festive period, the First Minister has announced. (Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group via Getty Images)

It comes amid a break in the previously-agreed “four nation” approach to Christmas guidelines, as Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford, announced the closure of all non-essential retail and close contact services in Wales at the end of trading on Christmas Eve.

Speaking at her daily briefing, Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government intended to issue “updated” guidance, in light of the fact that cases are “rising quite rapidly” in certain parts of the UK.

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She said case levels in Scotland were “at the moment lower than in other nations” but stressed the need to consider the “evolving situation”.

“The Scottish Government intends to strengthen the guidance we give to people a bit further about how they should make use of the flexibility,” she explained.

“Firstly and unequivocally the safest way to spend Christmas this year for you and for those you love is to stay within your own household and your own home.

“My strong recommendation is this is what you should do if at all possible.”

She said any mixing with other households should take place outside, if possible, but that if it was “essential” to meet indoors people should limit the time of that meeting and the numbers involved as much as possible.

She recommended that those people forming a Christmas bubble should only meet up with people on one day, if possible, and not stay overnight “unless it is unavoidable”.

She also stressed the need to limit numbers, saying: “In short, if you have to form a bubble keep it as small as possible.”

The First Minister said the Scottish Government was recommending against travel from areas with a high prevalence of coronavirus to parts of the country with a lower rate.

“If you haven’t made plans to form a bubble, please don’t,” she urged people.

“If you are still swithering, please decide against. And if you have made plans but think they are not really essential, please think about postponing until later in the year.”

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