Govt scientist tells people not to spend more than 15 minutes in shops

A government scientist has warned Christmas buyers not to spend more than 15 minutes in one store to reduce the risk of coronavirus.

According to the MirrorSAGE professor Lucy Yardley also warned that spending Christmas with elderly parents is “very risky.”

The warning comes after busy scenes in Cardiff, when the festive shoppers took effect Saturday.

Speaking to Times Radio, she urged people to “take a step back” and think before visiting older relatives during the festive period.

“Is it really important that you share your home for the entire allowed period?” she said. “Because that is very risky for older people who are particularly vulnerable to this infection.

“So I think, while we can do that, and some people want to do that, the first question to ask yourself is, would it be better to put it off for a few months until they get vaccinated?

“Which hopefully they will be when they are very vulnerable, and do it more safely at that point.”

She also suggested limiting the amount of time spent in stores during the holiday season.

Asked how long is too long, she said, “Well, the rule that comes in handy for contact tracking is that if you spend 15 minutes with someone closer than six feet, you’ve definitely had a potentially contagious contact with them.

“So that’s quite a generous amount of time, I’m not sure most of us are going to need that much time in a store.

“And the less time you spend there, the safer you are. If you spend time close enough to someone and they happen to bring it to you or call for a new one, it won’t take 15 minutes to get the virus.”

But she said that as long as people adhere to social distance rules and wear masks indoors, Christmas shopping is “not the most dangerous.”

Her warning comes after former health secretary Andrew Lansley said it was “wrong” for Boris Johnson to relax the Christmas rules.

Lord Lansley, who was head of health under David Cameron, admitted that his opinion could make him sound like the Grinch.

But he said it was “wrong” to allow five days of household mixing during the Christmas season.

Asked if he thought relaxing the restrictions was a mistake, he said, “Yes. I feel like the Grinch. But I think the short answer is yes, I think it was wrong.”



This morning, Secretary of State Dominic Raab admitted that the UK is “at risk” for a third wave of the virus if the correct “balance” is not achieved in the Covid-19 restrictions.

Asked if a third wave was a possibility, he told the BBC: “There is a risk of that if we don’t have the balance right. But so far the R level is falling, that’s really important.

“And that’s why we’re starting with the tiered approach – more restrictive than some people would like, than before, but that allows us to slow down – but only if …”

Host Andrew Marr intervened and asked if the government doesn’t get the “behavior” it wants now and at Christmas, there could be another national lockdown in the new year.

Mr. Raab replied, “We are doing everything we can to prevent that.”

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