The Prime Minister today (Saturday 19 December) has announced changes to restrictions in light of a new variant of the virus, which is more easily transmissible.
The changes include new tighter, Tier 4 restrictions in parts of the country – areas of London and the South East in particular – most affected by this new strain of the virus.
People in Tier 4 should not mix with anyone outside their own household, apart from support bubbles.
For the rest of the country, those in tiers one, two and three, the government has amended its guidance that had allowed a relaxation of restrictions between the 23 and 27 December.
Devon is currently under Tier 2 restrictions.
Now, households in tiers one, two and three can form a Christmas bubble on Christmas day only, and different households must not stay overnight together in the same house.
Christmas bubbles for those in tiers one to three will not be able to include anyone in tier four, and people should not to travel into a tier four area. Support bubbles however remain unaffected as do the exemptions for separated parents and their children.
Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon (Designate), said:
“Public health experts have cautioned against unnecessary travel over this Christmas period. Meeting up with others outside of your own household increases the risk of transmission, and ultimately risks lives. Today, the Prime Minister has amended the guidance to encourage people to stay local this Christmas. I continue to urge people to think hard, even about meeting indoors with others on Christmas day only, and ask them, is it necessary or can they postpone their visit.
“In Devon, we have started to see positive cases starting to rise again. We must turn that around as quickly as possible to prevent transmission and to relieve pressure on our NHS services. Please, follow the Tier 2 guidance, and adhere to the rules including social distancing, face coverings and washing your hands properly and regularly.”