<p>Matt Hancock select committee</p>

Three households will be allowed to form a “bubble” over Christmas as the coronavirus rules are relaxed for five days across the UK.  

The UK government and devolved administrations have agreed the approach despite concerns about the spread of coronavirus.  

The temporary easing of measures will allow three households to mix in a bubble from 23 to 27 December.  

Each Christmas bubble can meet at home, at a place of worship or an outdoor public place, but existing, more restrictive rules on hospitality and meeting in other venues will be maintained throughout the period.  

Prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce details of which areas of England will be placed in which tier of restrictions on Thursday ahead of the country coming out of the current lockdown on 2 December.  

It comes as the UK recorded its highest daily coronavirus death toll since May, with a further 608 fatalities reported on Tuesday, compared to 614 on 12 May. 

Key PointsShow latest update


Good morning and welcome to our rolling coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, with England preparing to enter a new strengthened three-tier system, while travellers to the country will see quarantine rules relaxed just before Christmas. 

Chantal Da Silva24 November 2020 08:10

1606206081Travellers to England will be able to cut quarantine period with negative test

Starting 15 December, travellers arriving in England will have the option to end their quarantine periods early by taking a private coronavirus test after five days, provided the test comes back negative. 

Travel Correspondent Simon Calder explains the new rule, as well as the travel industry’s response here: 

Chantal Da Silva24 November 2020 08:21

1606206952Kay Burley pushes Grant Shapps for answer on why new quarantine rules have taken so long

A chaotic exchange unfolded between Sky News presenter Kay Burley and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on Tuesday morning as the television presenter pushed the MP for answers on why new rules on quarantine restrictions for travelers have taken so long. 

After asserting that he did not want to “bore” Burley’s listeners with his answer, Mr Shapps eventually responded to the question, asserting that a number of “things have had to come together” in order for new restrictions to be rolled out.

The back-and-forth unfolded after Mr Shapps announced plans for new rules for travellers to England that will allow those entering the country to cut their quarantine periods short with a negative coronavirus test after five days.

Watch the exchange here: 

Grant Shapps in chaotic exchange with Kay Burley over quarantine regulations

Chantal Da Silva24 November 2020 08:35

1606208262Grant Shapps says new travel rules likely to prompt innovation in private tests

A new rule that will soon allow travellers to England to cut their quarantine periods short with a negative private coronavirus test after five days is likely to prompt “innovation” in the development of private tests, which could drive prices lower, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said. 

Speaking on BBC Breakfast on Tuesday morning, Mr Shapps was questioned on whether the need for a private test meant that the rule was aimed more at business travellers, rather than those travelling for leisure. 

“The cost range that we’ve got at the moment,” Mr Shapps said, “ranges from £65 a test to £120 per test.”

“As this market gets going, we’ll see the costs being driven down,” he said.  As long as their tests meet government standards, he said, “it’s up to companies to innovate”.

Chantal Da Silva24 November 2020 08:57

1606208690Britons urged to ‘look very carefully’ at travel routes during Christmas

Britons are being urged to “look very carefully” at the transport routes they plan to take during the Christmas season, if they have to travel at all. 

“We have got to understand there are limitations to the (train) network caused by, for example, things like the need on some trains to pre-book tickets at this time, in order to prevent overcrowding,” Mr Shapps said on BBC Breakfast Tuesday morning.

“So we are going to be appealing to people to look very carefully at the transport route they take and of course even making a choice about whether they travel at all,” he said.

“It is the reality of the situation we’re in, we will try to do everything we can with the network to make it as good as possible, but I think it is worth people being aware that busy times of travel is a problem,” the transport secretary added.

Chantal Da Silva24 November 2020 09:04

1606209669Covid-19 advisor says ‘a lot’ of areas in England likely to emerge from lockdown in highest tier

Dr Mike Tildesley, a member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M), which advises the Government, has said he anticipates that “a lot” of areas of England will emerge from lockdown into the highest tier under the country’s new strengthened tier system.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Dr Tildesley said: “I would expect that probably initially quite a lot of regions may find themselves in Tier 3, but we may find some kind of stepwise move out of that.”

Dr Tildesley noted that it can take time to see the effects of control policies on the rate of infection, including the impacts of the current 4-week lockdown. H

He said he expected that England might see more movement in its tier system a fortnight after the current lockdown ends.

“Initially, we might see slightly more severe tiers but then when we start to see the effect of the lockdown, 1-2 weeks after the lockdown finishes on December 2, we might see some regions stepwise dropping down the tiers,” he said.

Chantal Da Silva24 November 2020 09:21

1606210911Grant Shapps says ‘only a fool’ would have no criticism of Government preparedness for pandemic

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said that “only a fool” would suggest there are not things the Government “could and should have done better in the years and decades leading up to [the coronavirus pandemic]”.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Mr Shapps said: “This country has not traditionally had a testing capacity, so we went into this crisis with the ability to test 2,000 people a day. That was it.

“We can now test 538,000 a day – very soon it’s going to go up to over a million, because there are two new mega labs, capable of doing 300,000 each,” he said. “Again, we didn’t have a domestic PPE production industry. Now we have over 70% of our PPE coming from the UK.”

On the handling of care homes amid the pandemic, Mr Shapps said: “Again, I think there will be plenty of lessons learned.”

Chantal Da Silva24 November 2020 09:41

1606211759What lockdown tier will you be in and what are the new rules?

With England set to enter into a new strengthened three-tier system to help curb the spread of coronavirus, many will be wondering what tier their area might fall under. 

Here, Olivia Petter looks at what the new tier system will look like and how you will be able to find out what tier your area is in:

Chantal Da Silva24 November 2020 09:55

1606212525Weekly registered Covid-19 deaths pass 2,000 for first time since May

The number of weekly registered deaths connected to coronavirus has swept past 2,000 in England and Wales for the first time since the month of May, new data shows.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, there were 2,466 deaths involving Covid-19 registered in the week ending on 13 November.

The number represents the highest in England and Wales since the week ending on 22 May, when 2,589 deaths were registered. 

It also represents a rise of 529 deaths from the week prior, ending on 6 November, when 1,937 deaths involving Covid-19 were recorded.

Chantal Da Silva24 November 2020 10:08

1606216147Tier 3 residents expected to be able to go on holidays abroad from 2 December

Residents of areas that are designated “tier 3” at the end of England’s lockdown are expected to be able to travel abroad from 2 December, under the Government’s new plan.

At present, no one in England is allowed to travel domestically or abroad for leisure. 

Starting from one minute past midnight on 2 December, however, people living in tiers 1 and 2 have been told they are able to take holidays. 

For residents of tier 3 areas, the government says: “Avoid travelling out of the area, other than where necessary such as for work, education, youth services, medical attention or because of caring responsibilities.”

However, on Tuesday morning Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Tier 3 residents should be able to go abroad “if you’re going straight to an airport”. 

The statement has prompted calls for clarity. In the meantime, our Travel Correspondent Simon Calder breaks down what we know about the rules:

Chantal Da Silva24 November 2020 11:09

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