Scots urged to ‘think carefully’ when making Christmas plans

The 'safest way' for people to spend Christmas is to remain in their own household, the First Minister said.

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The First Minister has urged people to “think carefully” and consider the risk before making plans for the Christmas period.

Up to three households will be allowed to form a bubble from December 23 to 27, as part of plans to prevent isolation.

There should be no more than eight people in a bubble but children under the age of 12 do not count towards the total.

It means people can use the travel window to move between council areas and across the UK to form a bubble.

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However, Nicola Sturgeon said the “safest way” for people to spend Christmas remains “with our own household, in our own home and our own local area.”

It comes as another 51 people with coronavirus have died in Scotland, with the country recording 1225 new cases in the last 24 hours.

Sturgeon said ahead of First Minister’s Questions: “Just because we are allowing people to meet up in a limited way does not of course mean people have to do so and people should not feel under pressure to do so.

“This virus spreads when people come together, so we are asking everyone to think carefully before using these flexibilities.

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“With the possibility of a vaccine so close none of us will want to take unnecessary risk, particularly with older or more vulnerable relatives, so we should all consider if there are alternative ways to have Christmas contact with those we love this year.

“For example by meeting outside on a family walk or by using technology.

“However, we recognise the reality that at Christmas some people will feel the need to meet up with others, so this guidance sets out how to do that as safely as possible.

“Although, it’s important for me to stress that the advice even if fully implemented will not completely eradicate risk.”

The guidance was released by the Scottish Government earlier on Thursday.

The advice in general, the First Minister added, is to keep any bubble as small as possible.

Students who have returned home at the end of term form part of the household they have returned to, while people who live in a shared flat are considered a household and should not split up and enter separate bubbles over the festive period.

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Sturgeon said: “We’ve given very careful thought to this guidance. It hasn’t been easy to come to these conclusions.

“I know some people will think the guidance is too strict, others will think any relaxation is reckless and I have to say I understand both points of view.

“We are trying to balance as best we can two conflicting priorities.”