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Scottish Government tightens Christmas COVID guidance

Christmas 800 Photo: PA

Scottish Government tightens Christmas COVID guidance

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed the Scottish Government will issue tighter guidance for the planned relaxation of coronavirus restrictions over the Christmas period.

She has urged people to reduce the time spent with other households and reduce the number of people within a Christmas bubble as far as possible.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the four nations agreed to retain the planned temporary easing of the rules.

Sturgeon reiterated the best option would be to only celebrate Christmas within one household and urged people to only meet up with others if it was essential.

The new guidance will also recommend people do not stay overnight and or spend more than one day over the five-day period with another household, with any interactions to take place outdoors where possible.

At her daily coronavirus briefing, the First Minister said: “Any interactions you do have with another household should, if at all possible, be outdoors, but if you do consider it essential to meet indoors with someone from another household, you should limit both the duration and the numbers as much as possible.

“And this point I want to stress in particular: the five-day relaxation is a window of opportunity during which you can meet. It is not a period that we think it is safe or sensible to get together for. You should see it as a maximum, not a target.

“My recommendation is that if you do form a bubble, you should not meet up with people in it any more than one day within that period if possible, and you should not stay overnight unless it is unavoidable.

“You should also limit numbers as far as possible. Three households is a maximum that tries to account for the fact that families come in all shapes and sizes, but two would be better. In short if you have to form a bubble, keep it as small as possible. In Scotland we already advised an overall limit of eight people and I recommend you stay firmly within that.”

She urged people to avoid travelling from high prevalence to low prevalence areas, and to reduce social contact from now if people are planning to make use of the relaxed restrictions.

The First Minister also highlighted of a temporary error with the Protect Scotland app which led to a higher than expected number of notifications being issued between midnight on Monday and 8:30am on Tuesday.

Around 900 people were told to self-isolate in that time. Erroneous notifications were caused by an update to the app which reduced the time it was necessary to be in proximity to someone who later tested positive.

Those who received a notification are advised to contact the national contact tracing centre to check whether they should continue to self-isolate.

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