Boris Johnson will announce a ‘Covid winter plan‘ to the House of Commons on Monday, November 23, including an update on how families can see their loved ones, and a return to tiered, local coronavirus restrictions.
It has been announced that families will be able to enjoy Christmas together across the whole of the UK after ministers agreed a plan that will allow up to four households to mix for five days between Christmas Eve and December 28.
Tough limits on household mixing will be scrapped for the festive break before the country returns to a Tier system which will replace the current lockdown from December 3.
After December 2 more areas are likely to be placed in higher tiers, and some tiers will be strengthened to safeguard the gains made during the current national lockdown.
Next weeks announcement will include an “end of lockdown package”, expected to include a vaccination schedule and mass testing.
The Cabinet will sign off the plans on Sunday and decide which areas are in which tiers before Thursday 26 November. MP’s will vote on the proposals before they come into force.
The government is optimistic that restrictions can be gradually reduced in the run-up to spring, provided vaccines are approved by regulators.
When is the current lockdown due to end?
The second lockdown will end on Dec 2, replaced with a three-tier system similar to the one in place before the second wave.
When will Boris Johnson announce what happens after lockdown?
Monday, November 23. The time is to be confirmed, but the Prime Minister and other government ministers have made announcements around 11am in the House of Commons in recent months, followed by a press briefing at 5pm from Downing Street.
Boris Johnson is expected to announce which areas will fall under which tiers on Thursday, November 26.
What is he expected to say?
The Prime Minister is expected to address five topics.
He will likely confirm lockdown is ending on Dec 2.
On Dec 3, a tougher three-tier system of local restrictions will be introduced, though the controversial 10pm pub curfew is expected to be extended by an hour.
Gyms and leisure centres will be allowed to open, and Mr Johnson faces pressure in the Commons to permit golf and children’s sports.
He will not announce which areas are in which tiers until Thursday, when the Government has access to the latest information on the virus’s reproductive rate, its prevalence and incidence in the population, and whether infections are increasing or declining.
His proposals are already under threat from 70 Conservative MPs who have threatened to veto tougher restrictions in Parliament.
Read more: the three tier system
The leaders of all four home nations have agreed a plan to allow up to four households to mix between December 24 to 28.
Families must decide on their extended bubbles in advance and will not be able to mix with anyone from outside that bubble during the festive break.
Tough limits on household mixing will be scrapped for the festive break before the country returns to a Tier system .
No final decision has been made on how many households will be able to get together, but sources have indicated it will be either three or four households, meaning families will be able to have both sets of grandparents to stay.
Other restrictions, including pub closures, are also expected to be relaxed over the five-day holiday.
In a statement, the Cabinet Office said the leaders of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland had “endorsed a shared objective of facilitating some limited additional household bubbling for a small number of days”.
However, they also “emphasised that the public will be advised to remain cautious, and that wherever possible people should avoid travelling and minimise social contact”.
Northern Ireland is discussing a cross-border agreement with Ireland, which means the same rules are likely to apply in every part of the British Isles.
The four-nation approach, which must be approved by Parliament and each of the devolved administrations, will mean families who have relatives in another of the home nations, who have at times been prevented from visiting them because of different rules either side of the border, can now confidently plan Christmas together.
The Cabinet Office said, “Work is continuing to finalise the arrangements, including relating to travel. The UK Government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive hope to conclude this work this week, subject to agreement by each administration.”
Final details of the arrangements for Christmas are expected to be announced later this week.
Read more: one in four will break rules at Christmas
On Saturday, the Telegraph revealed that everywhere from factories and offices to towns and cities will be blitzed with mass testing if cases start to rise, something the Prime Minister is expected to address.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the mass testing pilot scheme used in Liverpool will be extended to 67 more towns and cities.
Tests will cover 10 per cent of each local authority’s population on a weekly basis.
Areas which will receive the new tests include Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and the West Midlands, other parts of the North West and the whole of the North East.
“Freedom passes” may also be addressed by the Prime Minister. These are passes expected to be given to people next year that allow them to forgo certain restrictions provided they have two negative coronavirus tests a week.
No 10 said on Saturday that provided vaccines were approved by regulators, the first injections can be made next month before being rolled out more widely in the new year.
NHS draft plans suggest every adult in England could be vaccinated by April, starting with NHS workers and the elderly before Christmas.
The Health Secretary asked British regulators to start their assessment of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine on Friday, as the company filed for emergency authorisation in the US.
British regulators will receive full safety data on Monday, and Pfizer hope to receive approval within days.
The Government is in talks with Derby City Council about using Derby Arena as one of the first locations for administering the Pfizer vaccine from mid-December.
Meanwhile, scientists at the University of Oxford have said they hope to have vaccine results by Christmas and confirmed regulators are conducting a so-called “rolling review” to speed up the process.
Read more: what could a ‘vaccine visa’ look like?
Source: The Telegraph Travels