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Sage Advisers Have Warned We Could Need Five Days Of Lockdown For Each Day Of Christmas Socialising

Dr Susan Hopkins is an infection disease specialist and adviser to the government (PA)

3 min read

Sage advisers have warned that we could face longer restrictions if there is a temporary lift of coronavirus rules over the festive period.

Responding to reports that ministers were considering a five-day lift of some restrictions from Christmas Eve, Dr Susan Hopkins said the government would “hopefully” allow some household mixing. 

She told reporters that modeling had previously suggested there would need to be two days of tighter restrictions for each day they were lifted.

However, Public Health England later clarified to Sky News that the actual figure was five days of restrictions for each day, meaning a five-day relaxation could lead to a 25-day lockdown.

Dr Hopkins said: “I think the first thing to say is that we are very keen that we have a Christmas as close to normal as possible. 

“That requires all of us to make every effort over this national restriction period, and even in early December, to get the cases that are low as possible and to reduce the risk of transmission within households and between families. 

The senior epidemiologist did not confirm what restrictions could look like, however, insisting “this is a government decision”.

“I know that they're working hard to develop an outline of what that will look like and what the new tiers will look like post-December 2nd, and what Christmas will look like. So we'll have to leave that to them, I'm afraid,” she added.

Meanwhile, Prof Angela McLean, who appeared alongside Dr Hopkins, revealed that advisers had already advised the government on the best steps to take over Christmas.

“We did send some advice over the weekend but we genuinely don't know what decisions have been made… What's really important is that we go into the festive week when we want to mix with our friends and our family with the number of infections in the community as low as possible.”

Both advisers stressed the importance of keeping infection rates low prior to the holiday period to reduce the likelihood of further restrictions. 

“Coming into Christmas we need to be very careful about the number of contracts that we have to reduce transmission before Christmas and get our cases as low as possible,” said Dr Hopkins. 

“Hopefully, the government will make the decision that will allow us to have some, some mixing but we will wait and see what that is. 

“And then I think once we have got past 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.”

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