People need to behave as if they already have COVID-19, especially in the new Tier 4 areas of England, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned.
He said the new strain of coronavirus is “out of control” and “we need to get it under control by reducing social contact”.
The five-day Christmas bubble period has been reduced to just Christmas Day for England, Wales and Scotland – and scrapped completely for areas in England under new Tier 4 rules – but remains in Northern Ireland.
Mr Hancock told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “Especially in Tier 4 areas, everybody has to behave as if they might well have the virus.”
He said: “This is deadly serious… This is a deadly disease, we’ve got to keep it under control and it’s just been made more difficult by this new variant.”
And he said scenes of people queueing at train stations to leave London represented “totally irresponsible behaviour”.