Christmas easing in Scotland allows families to meet

Coronavirus restrictions have been eased for Christmas Day to allow families to meet indoors, but clinicians and politicians have warned it should only be done if necessary.
Families can get together for ChristmasFamilies can get together for Christmas
Families can get together for Christmas

Initially, a UK-wide plan was hatched to allow up to eight people from three households to meet indoors between December 23 and 27.

However, the discovery of a new, more transmissible strain of the virus in the UK led to the plans being shelved, with only mixing on Christmas Day permitted.

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Despite limiting the amount of time people can meet, politicians have continued to warn that meeting indoors should only be done if absolutely necessary.

At an emergency coronavirus briefing on Saturday, the First Minister said: "Given the concern we now have about this new strain, we now intend to change the law to allow indoor mixing in a bubble on Christmas Day only from a minute past midnight on Christmas Day to midnight going into Boxing Day.

"We will allow Christmas Day to go ahead but, as we have said from the start, only use this flexibility if you really, truly need to.

"This new strain makes that message all the more important.

"Our advice is still not to meet indoors, even on Christmas Day, with other households if you can possibly avoid it.

"If you had people travelling to join you for Christmas from elsewhere in the UK, that will no longer be permitted.

"Equally it will no longer be permitted for any of us to travel to anywhere in the rest of the UK for Christmas."

She also announced plans for a tightening of restrictions immediately after Christmas.

From Boxing Day, all of mainland Scotland will be placed into Level 4 restrictions, regardless of their current level, with the islands in Level 3.

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The period is intended to last for an initial three weeks, but some opposition politicians have raised doubts about whether Scotland would be able to emerge after that period, or if tighter restrictions would be in place for longer.

Most recent figures do suggest that case prevalence in Scotland is decreasing, but appears to be on the rise elsewhere in the UK.

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