British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that he would not ban Christmas family gatherings but asked people to exercise “extreme caution” against the CCP virus during the festive period.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament, Johnson acknowledged the need to exercise caution.
As some scientists believe transmission can take place asymptomatically, “we should exercise extreme caution in the way we celebrate Christmas,” he said.
Johnson said there was “unanimous agreement” across all the UK’s regional governments, including the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland that the existing plan should not be changed, because “we don't want to criminalise people's long-made plans.”
“But we do think it's absolutely vital that people should at this very, very tricky time exercise a high degree of personal responsibility, especially when they come into contact with elderly people,” he said.
Under the agreement up to three households can meet in a “Christmas bubble” at home, outdoors, or in places of worship.
They cannot, however, meet at indoor hospitality or entertainment venues and once formed, they cannot change who makes up the bubble at any time over the five days.
On Tuesday, two influential medical journals—the British Medical Journal and the Health Service Journal—urged the government to scrap the plan to loosen rules over the festive period and to tighten restrictions instead.
Keir Starmer, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, joined a chorus of politicians also calling on the government to change course.
But Johnson said the way forward is not “imposing endless lockdowns or cancelling Christmas,” but defeating the virus “with vaccines, with community testing, and with tough tiering."