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British government eyes easing COVID restrictions for Christmas

The British government said on Sunday that it would seek to ease COVID-19 restrictions for Christmas to allow families to get together.

The U.K. said it would work with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ease restrictions after Cabinet Minister Michael Gove spoke with the countries’ governments, Reuters reports.

“As such, ministers endorsed a shared objective of facilitating some limited additional household bubbling for a small number of days, but also emphasized that the public will be advised to remain cautious, and that wherever possible people should avoid travelling and minimise social contact,” the government said.

Britain’s Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said during a Sky News appearance on Sunday that despite frustrations that Christmas won’t be held normally this year, the government would try to allow families to gather.

The move falls in line with what the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recently said regarding the holiday season. The CDC released recommendations last week advising people to avoid gathering with those outside of their immediate households to celebrate Thanksgiving this year and to keep celebrations small.

In early November, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a one-month lockdown, its second since the pandemic began. During the lockdown, non-essential businesses are closed, though people are still allowed to leave their homes for work, education, necessities and exercise.

The lockdown appears to have been effective as the U.K. government announced a few weeks ago that rate of infection had slowed down in recent weeks.

The U.K. has so far reported nearly 1.5 million coronavirus cases and over 54,000 deaths according to the World Health Organization.



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