ARRANGEMENTS have been agreed for some "limited" lifting of coronavirus restrictions at Christmas time across the UK.

Ministers from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland have endorsed a shared objective of allowing “some limited additional household bubbling for a small number of days” over Christmas, the Cabinet Office has said.

But following a meeting on Saturday, they “reiterated the importance of allowing families and friends to meet in a careful and limited way, while recognising that this will not be a normal festive period and the risks of transmission remain very real” a statement from the Cabinet Office said.

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The leaders of the devolved nations met with Cabinet Office Minister, Michael Gove, to discuss a single set of arrangements for the festive period across the UK.

It is currently not clear how many households will be allowed to mix or for how many days restrictions will be relaxed.

The Cabinet Office statement emphasised that "the public will be advised to remain cautious, and that wherever possible people should avoid travelling and minimise social contact".

Work is ongoing to finalise the arrangements, including relating to travel across the four nations of the UK, but this is hoped to conclude in the coming week.

However, lifting of restrictions will come at a price and may mean that restrictions go on for longer.

Professor Calum Semple, who sits on the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), told Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday what the science is currently saying.

He said: "In reality we cannot ban Christmas. To do so would just lead to breaches - and what are you going to do about that?

"What we are looking at is getting R down, but also getting the absolute number of cases down."

Semple said that across the UK cases in community are falling and we are "already seeing the tide turn" with hospital admissions and we will shortly see deaths reduce as well.

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He added: "Then you've got the run-up to Christmas - and hopefully, if the system works we will be able to relax some regulations for a few days, but there will be a price for that."

However, he hopes that national lockdowns will not be the solution, adding: "It shouldn't be seen that it's going to be draconian restrictions, it's just going to prolong restrictions and higher-level restrictions for some areas and perhaps all areas as a whole.

"It's very hard to know because we're talking about human behaviour here.

"We know that restrictions work, we also know we need to open up the economy so there's a very difficult balancing act here."