Families will be reunited for up to five days over Christmas after ministers from across the UK agreed to relax coronavirus restrictions.

Up to three households will be allowed to mix from December 23 to 27, Government sources indicated.

A Cobra meeting bringing together the UK Government and the devolved administrations is being held to agree on a four-nation approach to relaxing coronavirus restrictions over the festive period.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has acknowledged the risks involved in a Christmas relaxation, saying it is the “season to be jolly careful”, but is determined to give families the chance to meet up at the end of a grim year.

In England, the Government has already announced new tiered restrictions which will come into effect on December 2 and could last until the end of March – apart from any Christmas relaxation. 

More parts of England are expected to be placed into higher tiers than they were before the national restrictions were imposed.

The PM also said that the new tiers would be tougher than their predecessors after Government scientific advisers said the previous regime did not do enough to tackle the virus.