New Year’s Eve parties are OFF: Matt Hancock dashes hopes for December 31 as he insists rules will only be relaxed ‘for Christmas’ and tells the nation ‘don’t blow it with the vaccine on the horizon’
- Matt Hancock said relaxed rules to allow families to meet are ‘just for Christmas’
- Health Secretary ruled out extending the eased rules to cover New Year’s Eve
- He said he knew that would be ‘frustrating’ but ‘unfortunately it is necessary’
The Health Secretary told a Downing Street press conference that ‘we have got to be careful’ as he urged the nation not to ‘blow it, especially with the vaccine on the horizon’.
He admitted that keeping strict rules in place on December 31 would be ‘frustrating’ for many people but he insisted ‘unfortunately it is necessary’.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock today ruled out easing coronavirus rules on New Year’s Eve
England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have agreed a joint plan to relax rules over the Christmas period to allow people to travel to see their loved ones.
The eased measures will enable people to form a ‘Christmas Bubble’ and meet indoors between December 23 and December 27.
Christmas bubbles will be able to include people from up to three separate households.
The Government has faced pressure to extend the relaxed rules to cover New Year’s Eve with critics arguing it is a more important occasion for some people than Christmas.
But Mr Hancock categorically ruled out the move this evening as he said people will only be allowed to celebrate indoors on December 31 with people in their own household.
He said: ‘We are not bringing in a special set of rules for New Year as we have for Christmas.
‘I know this has been such a tough year for so many of us, 2020, and so we brought in the rules around Christmas to make sure that people have that opportunity to see some members of their family who they haven’t been able to all year.
‘But we have got to be careful and let’s not blow it, especially with the vaccine on the horizon and let’s make sure that we all take the actions that we need to to look after other people, to look after especially those who are vulnerable to the disease over Christmas.
‘We therefore haven’t put in place a specific set of rules for New Year or indeed for lots of other holidays, special occasions, throughout this crisis. Just for Christmas.
‘I know that that is frustrating but unfortunately it is necessary to keep the virus under control.’