NHS Highland Advises Caution at Christmas

NHS Highland is appealing to members of the public to be cautious this Christmas in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Between 23 and 27 December you can form a Christmas bubble of up to three households (the legal maximum), no more than eight people – this doesn’t include children under 12. 

However, Dr Tim Allison from NHS Highland is reminding members of the public that, in line with Scottish Government guidance, the safest way to spend Christmas is to spend this with your own household, in your own home and in your own local area, and as much as you possibly can, keep interaction with other households to a minimum.

Dr Allison said:

“This year has been challenging for everyone and we have all made sacrifices in order to keep our loved ones and our communities’ safe.  

“Christmas is traditionally a time when we spend more time with family and friends and, while the rules have been changed slightly to allow more socialisation in order to help reduce loneliness and isolation, it is really important to remember that this Christmas will be different. 

“COVID-19 has not gone away and will spread rapidly if given the opportunity.

“We are asking that everyone thinks about the risks that are involved in increasing the number of people you come into contact with and, if you are meeting people, to please follow the rules to help us in reducing the spread of the virus.”

Everyone should think carefully about the risks involved in increasing the number of people you have contact with, particularly if you or your loved ones are at a higher risk from coronavirus. 

Updated Scottish Government guidance published on the 16 December asks you to: 

minimise the number of people in a Christmas bubble. 

while three households is the legal maximum, the recommendation is that two would be better, and you should keep to a maximum of eight people, age 12 and over 

minimise the time spent with your bubble, especially indoors.

the five-day period is a window of opportunity, not a recommended time.

the recommendation is to not meet up with people in your bubble on any more than one day over the period and do not stay overnight unless it is unavoidable

avoid all travel between high prevalence and low prevalence areas – in particular, that means avoiding travel to or from Scotland and Tier 3 areas in England, and to or from any Level 4 areas in Scotland 

you should not go to a pub or restaurant or entertainment venue, for example a cinema or theatre, with your bubble

Dr Allison added:

“The best present you can give your friends and family this year is to help them stay safe and well and the best way to do that is to stay within your own household.

“However, if you are joining a Christmas bubble please follow the rules. 

“By doing this not only will you protect yourself but you will also protect others including the most vulnerable in our communities.”