Steps you must take to see your family safely at Christmas

Many scientists and public health experts questioned the Christmas plans that will enable families to get together.

But some have provided tips on how families can visit their loved ones in the safest possible way.

While there will never be “no risk”, people can take steps to reduce the chance of infecting and spreading the virus among their loved ones.

Among which:

– Exclusivity of bubbles

Up to three households can form an exclusive ‘bubble’ to meet at home from December 23-27. When a bubble is formed, it is repaired and should not be modified or expanded at any time.

Professor Graham Medley, an expert in infectious disease modeling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said people should be “totally loyal” to all social bubble schemes.

Dr. Michael Tildesley, associate professor of infectious disease modeling at the University of Warwick, told Times Radio Monday, “We need to send very clear messages to people saying ‘keep those bubbles exclusive if you’re going to merge two to three households. ‘.

“What you don’t have to do is go to your grandparents and then go to your friends at the pub the same day and back to your grandparents – because that’s where the real risk is.”

– Isolation

If people want to be extra careful, they can isolate before seeing loved ones. This reduces the risk that people who have the virus and are not aware of it will pass it on.

Professor Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh, suggested a two-week isolation period.

“If you’re going to see older or vulnerable individuals, you can, if you can, isolate them for two weeks so you don’t expose them,” she told MPs on Tuesday.

Prof Medley also told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that people should isolate themselves before visiting relatives and think about the amount of time they want to spend with them.

Government guidelines on bubbles suggest that people should “reduce unnecessary contact with people you don’t live with in the two weeks before you form your Christmas bell.”

– Ventilate and spend time outdoors

Prof Sridhar told MPs on Tuesday that it was “risky” for people to meet indoors – especially when elderly relatives are around and alcohol may be involved.

“Get outside – we know that outside is so much safer than inside, take a walk, eat outside,” she told a joint meeting of the Science and Technology Committee and the Health and Social Care Committee.

“If you want to be indoors, ventilate, open your windows and ensure adequate air circulation.”

Stephen Reicher, a professor of social psychology at the University of St. Andrews, said the virus is spreading in “closed spaces that are crowded and stuffy” and called for funds to be allocated for outdoor community activities.

Government guidelines also suggest that people might consider using technology.

– Hands, face, space

People should try to keep their distance as much as possible and make sure to wash their hands with soap regularly for at least 20 seconds.

The use of masks can cause controversy, but wearing a mask in a confined space can help stop the spread of the virus.

Dr. Chaand Nagpaul, Chairman of the Board of the British Medical Association said: “For any additional mixing that takes place over the Christmas season, it is absolutely essential that people know to take the necessary safety precautions, such as ventilating rooms and limiting physical activity. contact when masks are not worn.

“After an incredibly challenging year, we all want to enjoy this Christmas with our loved ones, but more importantly we make the most responsible decisions to make sure our loved ones are healthy and safe so that we can enjoy so much more.”

– Extra cleaning

Government guidelines say that people should regularly clean touch points, such as door handles and surfaces.

Frequently used surfaces such as light switches and toilet grab bars should be wiped regularly.

– Vulnerability

Be extra careful if there are people who are believed to be at higher risk – including the elderly and those with underlying conditions.

Prof Medley urged people to weigh the risk of spreading Covid-19 among those who are vulnerable. And he said that social interactions, even when measures are in place, carry risks that “could be very bad for some people.”

The government’s guidelines on calling suggest that people should “consider ways to celebrate Christmas in other ways, such as using technology and meeting outside.”

– Remember you are not invincible

Even if you are not considered to be at high risk for the virus, it can still be an extremely unpleasant illness and have long-term consequences. Tens of thousands of Britons suffer from debilitating long-term after-effects of the virus – including previously young and fit people – including brain fog, pain, extreme fatigue and shortness of breath.

– Test and isolate

The rules of self-insulation will not change. If you develop symptoms of coronavirus – fever, a new and persistent cough, or a new loss or change in your sense of smell or taste – you should isolate yourself and have a test.

– After Christmas

People should remember that they may have contracted the virus without knowing it. Government guidelines suggest that in the two weeks following your last meeting with your Christmas bubble, you should reduce as much as possible your contact with people you don’t live with.