Christmas bubbles not cancelled even with regions moving into Tier 3

Families of up to three households will still be able to mix over Christmas despite Covid cases rising in London and the South East.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Monday afternoon that London, parts of Essex and Hertfordshire will go into Tier 3 from Wednesday in response to spikes of infection.

The changing of tiers however will not impact the planned relaxing of restrictions between December 23 and 27, Downing Street has confirmed.

There is no need to scrap plans to meet loved ones for the four day period but scientists insist people should act with caution to prevent passing coronavirus onto vulnerable relatives.

When asked if they would review the Christmas rules, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "No. We've set out the details of the Christmas guidelines.

"There are no plans to review the Christmas guidance. What we've said alongside that is that the public should continue to be cautious.

"I think the Prime Minister said it's the season to be jolly careful and we would emphasise that we should continue to do that.

"We've been clear that it's a limited easement to allow families to bubble over the Christmas period after what has been a very difficult year for many people.

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"But it remains important for the public to follow the guidance."

Regardless of tiers, the UK Government and devolved authorities will allow Christmas bubbles to go ahead as planned next week but it is advised people isolate for as long as possible before and after.

Experts fear the price of households mixing without enforced social distancing next week, will result in a potentially fatal third wave.

Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain, business Secretary, Alok Sharma said it was "personal choice" if people wanted to hug their grandparents this Christmas.

He added: "If people feel that they would be safer not doing that, that is up to them.

"I know that there are people who have taken a conscious decision that, whilst they may have their elderly parents come over Christmas, they will ensure that they don't hug them."

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