Professor Angela Thomas, acting president of the College, has published a statement on family gatherings and household bubbles over the festive period:

As the epidemiology constantly evolves, it is vital that the messaging around Christmas gatherings is clear and consistent. Following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, we recommend that people keep gatherings as small, as short and as near to home as possible. This will help to protect the most vulnerable while families gather this Christmas.

It is important to note, too, that a single social bubble is permitted with up to three households for the Christmas relaxation period only. This means that once households go their separate ways after the Christmas gathering, they should not then go and form social bubbles with new households. The idea of allowing up to three households to meet over a short period is to give people much needed respite over Christmas, while mitigating the impact of coronavirus as much as possible.

The virus will not take Christmas off. Therefore, if you do choose to gather at Christmas, please follow all of the usual public health advice on hand and respiratory hygiene, try to keep air circulating at family gatherings by keeping windows open or meet family outside where possible, and do not enter another home if you have symptoms of COVID-19. By doing so, you can help protect vulnerable people if you choose to gather over the festive period.