Banning Christmas would lead to breaches, expert says

If we tried to stop Christmas gatherings, people would violate the restrictions of the coronavirus, a government scientific adviser warned.

Calum Semple, who is a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage), said on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, “In reality, we can’t ban Christmas and that would simply lead to violations, and what are you going to do? “

When asked if every day of relaxation requires five days of tighter restrictions, the professor of child health and outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool said: “ Yes, I think it’s okay, but you shouldn’t see it . become draconian restrictions, it will only extend the restrictions and higher level restrictions for some areas. “

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will outline his “Winter Covid Plan” on Monday, setting out the restrictions to replace the national lockdown on December 2, and how people can spend the festive period, including a reinforced three-tier system.

Prof Semple said the regulations could be relaxed over Christmas if the new tier system proves successful.

He added, “There is every reason to believe that when lockdown is lifted, many areas can move to lower levels, but some areas will remain in higher levels.

“Then you have this period in the run-up to Christmas and hopefully, if the system works, we can relax some rules for a few days, but there is always a price for that.”

But he declined to say what measures should be part of the new tier system, saying it was a decision for ministers.

It comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned that “Christmas will not be normal,” despite England preparing to come out of lockdown next month and put in place a reinforced three-tier system of local coronavirus restrictions.

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Boris Johnson will outline his “Winter Covid plan” for England on Monday, outlining the restrictions to replace the national lockdown on December 2, and how people can spend the holiday season.

Downing Street said more areas are expected to move to the higher levels next month and those levels will be strengthened to safeguard the gains made during the four-week lockdown, but it is clear that the 10 p.m. curfew on pubs and restaurants will be changed.

Mr Sunak said the localized tiered system is a “much better way” to address Covid-19 as it confirmed the Prime Minister’s plans, which were expected to be approved by the cabinet on Sunday.

“I think, as frustrating as it is for all of us, Christmas won’t be normal this year,” he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

But having said that, the Prime Minister and everyone else, we’re looking for ways to see how families can spend some time together over (the) Christmas season.

“Obviously that is something we would like to do and it has been a difficult year for all of us, but like I said, this year will not be a normal Christmas.”

He confirmed to The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC that plans to change the curfew period for pubs and restaurants “is definitely something we’re looking at”.

Prime Minister is reportedly preparing to reveal a plan so that last orders should be called by 10pm, but people will be given an extra hour to eat their food and drinks, with opening hours extended to 11pm .

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