According to reports, families could meet for up to a week over the Christmas period to relax the UK’s coronavirus rules.
According to the Daily Telegraph, multiple families could join a bubble and mingle between December 22nd and 28th.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was too early to say which contacts will be able or restrictions over Christmas.
However, it has been reported that Boris Johnson is preparing to announce a plan to relax the rules next week.
The newspaper said Mr Johnson will also warn that the extent of the restrictions for the remainder of the next month would depend on how well the public follows the current lockdown in England, which is set to end on December 2nd.
Downing Street declined to comment but did not deny the report.
Speaking on Friday’s coronavirus briefing, Hancock said it would be a “boost” for Britain if a “safer, more careful and sensible” set of plans could be agreed between decentralized nations.
He said, “Over Christmas I will know how important it is that we have a system, a set of rules that both ensures people’s safety and enables people to see their loved ones.”
Earlier this week, Public Health England said the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergency (Sage) guidelines suggested that each day of greater freedom could require five days of more stringent action.
However, the UK’s assistant chief physician, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, who also appeared at the meeting, said there was “no magic number” about how many days it could take to relax the rules.
Meanwhile, Hancock said he was increasingly hoping for normalcy by the spring when he confirmed the UK health authority is considering a coronavirus vaccine that could potentially be launched next month.
He described the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) review of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine as “another important step in combating this pandemic.”
Regarding the “ray of light” a vaccine could bring, he confirmed that he had formally asked regulators to evaluate the vaccine and that, if approved, a sting could be introduced from December.
He said, “When the regulator approves a vaccine, we’ll be ready to start vaccinating next month with most of the rollout in the new year.
“We are going in the right direction, but there is still a long way to go.”
Mr Hancock was optimistic, saying that with news of vaccine breakthroughs in recent weeks coupled with an expansion of mass testing, he was “increasingly confident” that life will be closer to normal by spring.
According to NHS documents in the Health Service Journal (HSJ), all adults in England – of all ages – could be vaccinated against Covid-19 before the end of January if supplies allow.
According to the plan, any adult who wants a sting could be vaccinated by early April.
Prof Van-Tam, who acted remotely due to “household contact” because he was self-isolating, said people should “not worry too much” where they are on the priority list because of the difference between levels a question could be one to three weeks.
Mr. Hancock told the briefing that he did not want to “prejudice” or “compromise” the MHRA’s independence when asked how long its process could take and that the speed at which a vaccine was introduced would depend on the speed of manufacture.
Mr Hancock said the virus’s second peak was “flattening” but urged the public to “hold on to our resolve” so the rest of the lockdown will keep cases down.
Prof. Van-Tam also urged caution and suggested that any profits from the second national lockdown could be lost quickly as it “only takes seconds” for the virus to spread.
He appealed to people to “keep the pressure on this virus and push it as far as possible until the end of the period (lockdown)”.
He warned that if the public ignored the guidelines introduced around Christmas, infection rates will rise again, saying there is a “double responsibility” for people to abide by the rules set by the government.
Welsh Prime Minister Mark Drakeford previously said he was “generally hopeful” that an agreement could be reached between the four British nations on Christmas plans.
He said topics being discussed include travel between nations, how long restrictions could be eased, and the extent to which budgets are allowed to mix, and that more talks should take place next week.
Northern Ireland is set to deploy a two-week breaker next Friday, and Scotland has put two million people into the toughest restrictions for three weeks.
The government said an additional 511 people died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 on Friday, bringing the UK total to 54,286, while another 20,252 laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus were reported.
On Friday, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced that there are “significant differences” in Covid-19 infection rates in England, with rates continuing to rise in London, east England and the southeast, but in the US Northwest and the East Midlands would have decreased.
Sage said the reproduction number – or R-value – for the whole of the UK had dropped to 1 to 1.1.