COVID-19: Britons should ‘do the minimum’ if they visit family over Christmas, says minister | Politics News

Britons have been told to “do the minimum” if they visit family over Christmas, despite coronavirus rules being relaxed over the festive period.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay told Sky News that people “shouldn’t misinterpret what the COVID-19 guidelines say”.

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Under plans agreed with the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, up to three households will be able to form a “Christmas bubble” and meet between 23 and 27 December.

But discussing that guidance, Mr Barclay said: “It’s not saying that people must go and see family.

“It’s saying that where families want to see each other, they won’t be criminalised for doing so.”

Rising infection rates in some parts of the country, including in London, have caused some to question the festive relaxation.

Asked if these plans were being reviewed, Mr Barclay told Sky News that “all things are always kept under review”.

But when asked if Christmas could be “cancelled”, he replied: “No.”

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Mr Barclay said there was a “balance to be struck” as “many families have not seen each other all year”.

“It is important for people’s wellbeing, for their mental health,” he said. “We don’t want to criminalise people for coming together as family over Christmas.

“But, it is important that people do the minimum that is possible. So, people will be making their own judgments.”

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Families look to minimise Christmas COVID risk

Mr Barclay said he would not be seeing his parents over Christmas.

Professor Devi Sridhar, chairwoman of global public health at Edinburgh University, told Sky News it is a “bad idea” to relax restrictions for Christmas.

“Scientists can only put forward that evidence…and in the end it’s up to political leaders to balance that against other considerations,” she said.

Professor Sridhar added that “mixing at Christmas is a terrible idea and that should be the message”, adding: “We’re going to pay for this at some point.

“It’s not like it can just happen and that we won’t bear the consequences in January and February.”

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