Coronavirus: Christmas regulations not yet settled says Jeane Freeman

Scotland's health secretary has said that negotiations on a four-nation approach to Christmas are still on-going, as Boris Johnson is due to set out the festive period plans tomorrow.

Jeane Freeman said while discussions between the three leaders of the devolved administrations and Michael Gove, had been “productive and constructive so far” there was still no settled decision on relaxation of restrictions for Christmas or Hogmanay yet.

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Speaking on the BBC's Politics Scotland programme, she said: “We realise people want to spend some time with their family but we need to be careful here because we know that as soon as we start mixing together the virus will spread, so the objective for me as health secretary, is that everyone abides by the restrictions and follows the advice.

Scotland's Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has said four-nation discussions about Christmas are on-going.

“Discussions are underway so we can try and get alignment across the four nations, but right now we have to do all we can to drive down the infection so it gives us a better starting point for the festive season. We know that any mixing at all will increase the infection rate and number of cases so we need to do that from the lowest possible base. We need to reach a four-nation agreement so the same restrictions and relaxation – in a limited way – will apply across the four nations.”

Ms Freeman was speaking ahead of a UK cabinet meeting this afternoon where Christmas plans are due to be discussed before an announcement by Boris Johnson tomorrow, detailing his “winter Covid plan”, including how people can spend the festive period.

However Chancellor Rishi Sunak also warned today that “Christmas is not going to be normal” as he said England would likely follow a similar localised tiered system to the one in place in Scotland.

He said: “I think frustrating as it is for all of us, Christmas is not going to be normal this year. But that said, the Prime Minister and everyone else, we're looking at ways to see how families can spend some time with each other over (the) Christmas period.

“Obviously that's something that we would like to do and it's been a difficult year for all of us, but as I said it's not going to be a normal Christmas this year.”

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