The four UK nations have agreed to keep relaxed Christmas Covid rules in place, the prime minister confirmed on Wednesday, but Scotland and Wales have strengthened their own guidance.

Eased rules will still be in place from 23 to 27 December, but leaders urged people to keep social contact low.

Boris Johnson said people must show responsibility and try to avoid contact with vulnerable people.

UK leaders had come under pressure to review the plan as infection rates rise.

Mr Johnson said discussions between the four nations had resulted in unanimous agreement that the existing plan for Christmas should go ahead “because we don’t want to criminalise people’s long-made plans”.

During Prime Minister Questions, he told the House of Commons the public “should exercise extreme caution in the way we celebrate Christmas”, that it was “absolutely vital” that people show “a high degree of personal responsibility”.

At the Downing Street press conference, Boris Johnson said the government is asking people to think about “whether you can do more to protect yourself and others”.

Stating that: “A smaller Christmas is going to be safer Christmas”

Regarding the rules, Mr Johnson said “The three-household rule is a maximum not a target.”

For five days or from the Friday before Christmas, the government is asking people to isolate if they are seeing relatives. They are also advising against travelling from higher tiers to lower tiers.

England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, said it’s very important to remember that a vaccine is coming.

Prof Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer 

Adding “We are tantalisingly close to the stage where anybody who gets into trouble as a result of this Christmas will be protected in the very near future. It is very important people think about that. In addition to the standard rules and guidance, there are essentially four things to think about: Keep it small, keep it short, keep it local and think of the vulnerable. That way we can reduce the risk at Christmas.

The chief medical officer also spoke of the rules saying that three houses meeting for 5 days is a rule but not a necessity as he says you wouldn’t drive at 70 mph on an icy road, even if the rules say you could.

During questioning, the Prime Minister was asked if we should cancel Christmas, he responded by saying it would be inhuman to do so.

Mr Johnson finished the press conference saying he wants ‘everyone to have a merry little Christmas’ and he stressed’ little’ but hoped it would be back to normal next year.

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