Published on 1 December 2020

From 2nd December a new local restriction tier system will be in place in England. Additional measures will be observed for people living in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

UPDATE: 20th December - Following higher numbers of diagnosis and reports of a stronger strain of coronavirus (Covid-19) the government has announced an update to its previous recommendations for staying safe over the Christmas and New Year period.

Recent and upcoming changes to recommendations around the festive period:

From 20th December a new local restriction tier system will be in place in England. Additional measures will be observed for people living in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Find out the coronavirus restrictions in your local area.

Following higher numbers of diagnosis and reports of a stronger strain of coronavirus (Covid-19) the government has announced an update to its previous recommendations for staying safe over the Christmas and New Year period.

As previously advised – on Christmas Day, 25th December - You can make a “Christmas bubble” if you live in Tier 1, 2 or 3.

You cannot make a Christmas bubble in Tier 4.

Follow government guidance on making a Christmas bubble with friends and family

From 20th December, some of the worst affected parts of England will moved into the new Tier 4: Stay at Home category.

There are different restrictions in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

There are 4 tiers. There are different rules depending on what tier an area is in.

Enter the postcode where you’re living or spend most of your time to find out what the rules are at the following link:

Find out what tier your area is in and what the local restrictions are

A statement from the government said: “It is vital that we each take personal responsibility this Christmas to limit the spread of the virus and protect our loved ones, particularly if they are vulnerable. One in three people with coronavirus (Covid-19) have no symptoms and will be spreading it without realising it. So the safest way to celebrate Christmas this year is with your household or existing support bubble in your home. The more people you see, the more likely it is that you will catch or spread coronavirus.”

A mother and child with face masks looking through window

Areas in Tier 4

If you live in a Tier 4 area, you must follow the rules in your tier over the Christmas period. This means that you cannot meet other people indoors, unless you ordinarily live with them, or they are part of your existing support bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household.

Areas not in Tier 4

If you do not live in a Tier 4 area, you may see a maximum of two other households (your ‘Christmas bubble’) on Christmas Day (25 December). You cannot see anyone from a Tier 4 area.

You should think very carefully about the risks and only form a Christmas bubble if you feel you absolutely need to. Wherever possible, discuss alternatives to meeting up in person.

For more information read the government coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance and support. 
Read on for more information relevant for people with diabetes

From 2nd December different tiers of restrictions apply in different parts of the country.

* From 20th December additional restrictions apply, see above

At the end of November the government announced which areas were in to be in which tier. You can use the postcode checker to find out the restrictions in your area or an area you plan to visit on the NHS Covid-19 app.

A government statement said: “These tiers will be strengthened compared to the previous tiers in order to prevent a return to growing infections. We know that social contact spreads the virus. We need to impose these restrictions and it is right to target the toughest measures only in the areas where the virus is most prevalent or where we are seeing sharper increases in the rate of infection. The government is committed to ensuring the right levels of intervention in the right places to manage outbreaks, suppress the virus and keep R below 1.”

There are 3 tiers for local restrictions:
  • Tier 1: Medium alert
  • Tier 2: High alert
  • Tier 3: Very High alert

The new rules will come into effect from the beginning of Wednesday, 2nd December.

For more information about the area you live visit here.
Download the NHS Covid-19 app.
A woman using a hand sanitizer station

Remember, ‘Hands. Face. Space.’:

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds.

  • Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

  • Space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings).

Making a Christmas bubble with friends and family

The government has announced measures for people to meet up over the festive period.

A government statement introducing the recommendations said: “The festive period is an important time for many people of all faiths and none who come together over the holidays. The UK government and Devolved Administrations recognise that people will want to be with their friends and family over Christmas, particularly after an incredibly difficult year.

"For this reason, the government is changing some social contact restrictions for a short period of time. When following these new rules, we must each continue to take personal responsibility to limit the spread of the virus and protect our loved ones, particularly if they are vulnerable. For many, this will mean that it isn’t possible to celebrate Christmas in the way you normally would.”

Between 23rd and 27th December:

  • you can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households
  • you can only be in one Christmas bubble
  • you cannot change your Christmas bubble
  • you can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble
  • you can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces
  • you can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier where you are staying
  • you cannot meet someone in a private dwelling who is not part of your household or Christmas bubble

You should travel to meet those in your Christmas bubble and return home between the 23 and 27 December. Anyone travelling to or from Northern Ireland may travel on the 22 and 28 December.

For more information on Christmas bubbles visit here.
Doctor Taking A Nasal Swab Test

NHS: Why vaccination is safe and important

Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases.

The NHS has published a reminder how vaccines work, what they contain and the most common side effects.

An NHS statement said: “Important: Be aware that anti-vaccine stories are spread online through social media. They may not be based on scientific evidence and could put you at risk of a serious illness.”

Read the NHS guidance on vaccinations here.
For people living with diabetes previously published advice on protecting yourself from the virus is recommended

Whilst the safety measures have not changed and many of the previously recommended messages remain the same in this respect, we understand this may be a difficult time for many DRWF supporters living with diabetes and remind you we are always happy to hear from you and offer help and support where we can for any concerns you may have throughout this uncertain period.

Latest recommendations for people with diabetes

If you are over 60 or clinically vulnerable – including people under 70 with an underlying health condition, including diabetes, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus.

The latest guidelines recommendations for people in this category:
  • should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others
  • should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace

There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions. Over this period, we are advising the clinically extremely vulnerable to work from home. If you cannot work from home, you are advised not to go to work and may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA). You are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, but are encouraged to go outside for exercise. The full guidance is available and the Government will write to everybody who is clinically extremely vulnerable to set out detailed advice while the new restrictions are in place.

During the Covid-19 pandemic people with diabetes have had an additional health concern to consider – healthcare professionals advise to look after yourself as best as you can as an additional safety measure against contracting the virus this winter.

As previously reported, almost one in three of all deaths from coronavirus among people in hospital in England during the Covid-19 pandemic have been associated with diabetes.

A follow-up NHS report confirmed that people living with diabetes are at a significantly increased risk if they get Covid-19 compared to people without the condition.

The breakdown of figures confirmed that people with type 1 diabetes who are diagnosed with Covid-19 are more likely to die from the illness than people with type 2 diabetes.

The news highlighted the importance for people with diabetes to self-isolate as much as possible in line with government Covid-19 lockdown guidelines.

Read NHS guidance on who is at risk from Covid-19.


Ways people with diabetes can prepare for the winter season include:

·Have a flu jab if advised
·Be familiar with sick day rules – especially if prescribed to take metformin and if on ‘flozins’ – the flozin treatments (e.g. dapagliflozin) are a particular one to watch and stop taking if unwell, due to the risk of developing ketones which could progress to DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis)
·Ensuring you have working meters, enough ketone testing sticks and appropriate supply of medications, etc
·Good footcare and footwear
·Stay well hydrated, and take care if drinking alcohol (as excess amounts can cause dehydration)
·Seek advice early if unwell and ensure to have some skills in insulin dose adjustment where appropriate
Read 'Sick day rules' in the DRWF leaflet Managing diabetes when you are ill
Read Who can get the new Covid-19 vaccine?
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