Thursday, 3 Dec 2020

For Five Days of Christmas to happen 'we'll need ANOTHER month in lockdown'

England could face another month-long lockdown in exchange for a five-day window to celebrate Christmas.

Public Health England (PHE) say for every day restrictions are relaxed over the festive period, there would need to be five days of stricter rules to make up for it.

Earlier, a senior medical adviser to the Government’s Covid-19 response, Dr Susan Hopkins, told a Downing Street briefing we would need ‘two days of tighter measures’ for each day of easing.

But PHE have since said she misspoke and that the scientific modelling she was referring to actually indicated ‘that for every one day of relaxation, five days of tighter restrictions would potentially be needed’.

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That means a five day Christmas holiday would require 25 days of lockdown.

Scientists this morning confirmed they have drawn up plans the Government could use to relax lockdown over the festive break.

But they warned any easing of measures could come at a price, such as tougher rules either side of the break in return.

Dr Susan Hopkins said the experts were ‘very keen that we have a Christmas as close to normal as possible’.

However she said that in the lead up to the festive break, ‘we need to be very careful about the number of contacts we have’.

She added: ‘And I think once we have got passed the Christmas period, if there’s been a release and some socialisation, we will all have to be very responsible and reduce those contacts again.’

Reports today suggested that ministers are discussing plans to allow households to mix indoors between Christmas Eve and December 28.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman confirmed ministers are looking at ways people can spend time with close family over Christmas ‘at the end of what has been an incredibly difficult year.’

The current restrictions are set to end on December 2, when the tiered system is expected to return.

The Government will decide next week how to end the second national lockdown as ministers come under pressure to outline any restrictions which could be in place over the festive period.

Scientists say the previous tier one level had very little effect on reducing coronavirus cases, with the highest impact found from enhanced restrictions in tier three areas, where households are banned from mixing

The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) is currently weighing up the options for allowing more than six people to mix and what effect it might have on Covid, amid fears that Brits will ignore rules and meet up regardless of the laws.

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