WALES has now joined Scotland by scrapping kids from the six-person rule which could ruin Christmas for families in England.
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced the new restrictions this lunchtime after Boris Johnson face revolt from his cabinet and Tory MPs over the new rules labelled “worse than the disease itself”.
Mr Drakeford told the BBC that transmission is “coming from people meeting people they know” but that children 11 years old and younger won’t be counted in the six-person limit on social gatherings in Wales.
The First Minister added: “It’s not passing strangers, it’s not in the outdoors, it’s when people get into one another’s households.”
“For that reason, while we continue to have an extended household arrangement where any four households can get together and create an extended household, only six people from that extended household will be able to meet indoors together at any one time.”
Most senior ministers spoke out against the new ‘rule of six’ at a key coronavirus strategy committee meeting on Tuesday, The Daily Mail reported.
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock pushed through the restriction with the backing of top scientists.
A Cabinet source told the newspaper: “Everyone apart from Hancock wanted to see the limit on groups at eight or more.
“Even the PM was initially cautious about taking the limit all the way down to six.
“The majority view was that this level of social distancing will have a huge impact on people’s lives and the economy. But Hancock got his way.”
Former minister Sir Desmond Swayne called the rules “grotesque” and “worse than the disease itself”.
He told Times Radio: “It is an intrusion into family life, into individual liberty.
“And also we’re threatened with marshals in our streets, what powers are they going to have to direct us and order us to do things?”
Business minister Nadhim Zahawi tried to defend the Government’s stance, telling BBC Radio 4: “(No more than) Six people, in a home, in a household, outdoors, that’s how it will work. No change (for children) in England.
“Scotland have chosen their rule of six and made their provisions, as has Wales.
“The spread (of coronavirus) is predominantly coming from social interaction and reluctantly we think it is the right thing to do.”
Scotland introduced their own rule of six yesterday which doesn’t include children 12-years-old and under and the PM was accused by Tory MPs of cancelling Christmas by making family’s choose who to visit.
Tory MP Steve Baker told The Sun: “Keeping these restrictions going into Christmas would be one of the most damaging things the Conservative party has ever done.
“It’s extremely difficult to see how this policy will last after the Scots’ announcement today.
“Boris must save Christmas – he’s not the grinch.”
Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat backed up Mr Baker’s call for freedom, tweeting: “The risks have changed and we need to reflect that. The gov can’t decide every detail of our lives.
“A vaccine may arrive in years, or never, we need to learn to manage the risk and live our lives.”
In Wales, the new rules don’t force the rule of six on people who meet outdoors, which was kept at the legal limit of 30.
Mr Drakeford said there was “no evidence at all in Wales” that the virus is being spread by people meeting outdoors.
He said: “I think the evidence on this has been very clear for a long time. The virus doesn’t thrive in the outdoors and in the sunlight. It does thrive indoors and in the dark and the cold.”
Tougher local lockdown restrictions were brought in for 181,000 people in Caerphilly county borough on Tuesday evening, including a ban on meeting other households indoors.