The Government of the United Kingdom has started talks with the regional administrations in order to agree on a uniform program of social measures against the coronavirus during Christmas. Executives from Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast are participating in the negotiation that is being coordinated by British Cabinet Minister Michael Gove. All attendees agree on the “importance” of allowing reunions of family and friends living in different homes on Christmas, according to the Cabinet office.
The aim is to facilitate the creation of social “bubbles” “for a reduced number of days”, while continuing to instill a message of “caution” in the face of the persistent risk of contagion. “The ministers recognize that it is not going to be a normal holiday period,” the statement underlines.
The details of the agreement that the four governments hope to reach this week were not advanced yesterday. Each territory has adopted its own program and schedule of restrictions to deal with the second wave of Covid-19. Lifting the ban on travel within the UK is one of the common priorities for the month of December.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce the ‘winter plan’ against the coronavirus in England in a statement scheduled for today in the Westminster Parliament. The current phase of general lockdown ends on December 2 and no extension is planned, Downing Street said. But neither will it mark the end of social or economic constraints.
The official roadmap points to the return of the regional or local system of restrictions. The three-tier bands created in October will be maintained, but prohibited activities in each stratum will be reinforced. It is further anticipated that a vast majority of English districts will be subjected to the strictest regulations after the lockdown, which began on November 5.
The prime minister also faces a group of rebellious conservatives – around 70 deputies – who demand an analysis of the economic consequences of the new limitations. “We cannot support more restrictions until the Government demonstrates the impact they will have in slowing down the transmission of Covid and that they will save more lives than they are taking,” former minister and head of the Brexit hard sector, Steve Baker, tweeted.
Treasury Minister Rishi Sunak dismissed the lawsuit, reinforcing the government’s likely reliance on Labor votes to approve the new package of measures. A concession from Johnson is not ruled out when he specifies the days in December when he hopes to relax the social limitations against covid-19.
The United Kingdom exceeded the peak of 1.5 million coronavirus infections, after adding 18,662 new cases yesterday. In addition, 398 people who tested positive have died in the last 28 days. Both figures are lower than those recorded on Friday, although there are usually delays in data collection during the weekend. The total number of deaths, which rose to 54,751 on Sunday, is the highest in Europe.