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By British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT)

People Have Been Warned By Chris Whitty Not To Hug And Kiss Their Grandparents At Christmas

2 min read

People should avoid hugging and kissing elderly and vulnerable relatives when families get together over Christmas, the chief medical officer for England has warned.

Chris Whitty told a Downing Street press conference on Thursday: "The fact you can do something doesn't mean you should," adding that people shouldn't hug their grandparents "if they want them to survive to be hugged again".

Up to three households will be able to mix for a five-day period between December 23 and 27, as the government attempts to allow families to see each other and share festivities after months of strict lockdown measures. 

But Prof Whitty said even people with no symptoms could be carrying the virus and that it "does not make sense" to risk the health of older relatives by having close contact with them. 

Boris Johnson also warned of the risk of potential further national lockdown in January should people fail to adhere to the new three-tier system of restrictions.

Almost all of the country will be in at least tier 2 next week, banning all households mixing indoors and putting restrictions on hospitality, with only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly placed in the lowest tier.

Liverpool, which had been in Tier 3 before the lockdown, will be downgraded to tier 2 next month after it has driven down infections and piloted a mass testing scheme.

But Greater Manchester will remain in the highest level, as despite continued improvement in the region's case rate several of its NHS trusts "remain under significant pressure".

Tier 3 restrictions will mean no indoor household mixing apart from support bubbles, no household mixing outdoors apart from some public spaces such as parks and public gardens, while pubs and restaurants will remain closed.

But the PM said an area's designated tier was "not your destiny", promising individual restrictions would be reviewed every two weeks, starting on December 16.

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Connecting Communities is an initiative aimed at empowering and strengthening community ties across the UK. Launched in partnership with The National Lottery, it aims to promote dialogue and support Parliamentarians working to nurture a more connected society.

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