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  • Coronavirus pandemic

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The UK's four nations have backed plans to allow some household mixing "for a small number of days" over Christmas.

It comes as Boris Johnson is due to announce on Monday what Covid restrictions may be in place over the festive period.

The PM will also outline plans for a tougher three-tiered system for England – to be introduced at the end of the current lockdown on 2 December.

The 10pm curfew could be eased under the new system.

The Cabinet Office said ministers from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have endorsed a "shared objective of facilitating some limited additional household bubbling for a small number of days".

But, following talks on Saturday, they have emphasised that the public will be advised to "remain cautious", and that "wherever possible people should avoid travelling and minimise social contact".

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Discussions are ongoing – including about travel arrangements – but it is hoped a deal can be reached this week.

In respect of Northern Ireland, ministers have also "recognised that people will want to see family and friends across the island of Ireland, and this is the subject of discussions with the Irish government".

Under the plans for restrictions in England, more areas are set to be placed into the higher tiers to keep the virus under control, Downing Street said.

And some tiers will be strengthened to safeguard lockdown progress.

Some local measures will be the same as those in the previous three-tier system, which was in place in England until the current lockdown began.