Soon households across the UK will be allowed to mix during the Christmas bubble period of December 23 to 27. In recent weeks there has been significant concern over how the relaxation of rules will impact the spread of coronavirus. Wales and Northern Ireland are preparing for lockdowns in the days to follow after Christmas.
From December 26, Northern Ireland will be under a new six-week lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Wales will move into stricter level 4 restrictions, the equivalent of a lockdown, from 6pm on Christmas Day.
Wales have also implemented stricter rules for the Christmas bubble period, and only two households will be able to meet.
The increased restrictions come as the latest figures from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) show the R value of coronavirus transmission in the UK is estimated to have risen between 1.1 and 1.2.
READ MORE: UK lockdown: What is the R Rate and how is it calculated?
Similarly the Government could follow the lead of Wales and Northern Ireland and increase restrictions if cases are too high.
Although the implementation of a future lockdown remains uncertain, the PM has urged people to be cautious over the Christmas period to help prevent a rise in Covid cases.
Mr Johnson added: “Keep it short, keep it small, have yourselves a very little Christmas as I said the other night – that is, I’m afraid, the way through this year.
“Next year I have no doubt that as we roll out the vaccine and all the other things that we’re doing, it will be very, very different indeed.”
The three household rule over Christmas has been set as a maximum, with the PM suggesting people should keep celebrations with other households to a minimum.
It has also been suggested people should keep their celebrations shorter, and to reduce contact five days before meeting other households.
At a Downing Street press briefing this week, England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty urged people to “keep it small, keep it short, keep it local and think of the most vulnerable people”.
Professor Whitty added: “We are tantalisingly close to the stage where anybody who gets into trouble as the result of actions this Christmas would have been protected in the very near future.
“So, it is very important that people think about that when they make decisions over the next few weeks.”