Matt Hancock urges Christmas shoppers to avoid Tier 3 areas
Between December 23 and 27, people across the UK will be allowed to form temporary Christmas bubbles. Christmas bubbles should not include people from more than three households, and people can only be in one Christmas bubble, which cannot change.
The Government guidance on the issue of Christmas bubbles states people who form Christmas bubbles should take extra precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
This includes washing hands frequently while visiting others, and cleaning touch points such as door handles and surfaces regularly.
If people are meeting others for a short period of time, the Government guidance states people should “keep socially distanced from anybody” they do not live with “as much as possible”.
The guidance also states to “make sure you let as much fresh air in as you can during a visit and after visitors have left, without getting cold, by opening windows and doors”.
Anyone who has to self-isolate due to a positive Covid test or as a contact of someone who tests positive must not form a Christmas bubble.
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Should you self-isolate before seeing family at Christmas?
The Government has stated forming a Christmas bubble is a “personal choice”, and that people should be very cautious about reducing the risk of spreading coronavirus to family and friends.
The Government has also stated people should reduce “unnecessary contact” in the run-up to the Christmas bubble period.
The Government guidance states: “You should reduce unnecessary contact with people you do not live with as much as possible in the two weeks before you form your Christmas bubble. Children should continue to go to school.
“You should work from home if you can, but you should avoid unnecessary social interaction.
“Any increase in contact with other people increases the risk you will catch or spread coronavirus.”
Some experts have suggested isolating prior to meeting family members could help to prevent the spread of the virus over the Christmas period.
Virologist Elly Gaunt tweeted: “From tomorrow my partner and I are voluntarily self isolating prior to visiting one household at Xmas.
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“I’ve seen very little advice suggesting to do this if you can, so here I am, a virologist, saying how important I think this is.”
According to iNews Professor Nicola Stonehouse, a virologist at the University of Leeds, suggested isolating for 10 days before forming a bubble could help households to meet this Christmas.
She said: “I appreciate that this will be challenging for many people, but we risk a large increase in cases in January.
“Therefore, especially if mixing with more vulnerable people, I strongly suggest a period of self-isolation. And then hugging should be fine!”
Medical experts have warned of the importance of being cautious over the Christmas bubble period.
Last month the UK’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, warned he would not encourage people to hug and kiss their elderly relatives.
He said at a Downing Street press briefing: “It’s not against the law – and that’s the whole point. You can do it within the rules that are there, but it does not make sense because you could be carrying the virus and if you’ve got an elderly relative, that would not be the thing you’d want to do in the period where we are running up to a point where we actually might be able to protect older people.”
Extra precautions for helping to protect the clinically extremely vulnerable over Christmas are outlined on the Government website HERE.
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