Wednesday, 2 Dec 2020

Boris Johnson warns Christmas will be ‘different’ but families could be together

Boris Johnson has warned Christmas could be "very different" this year – but believes families could still get together.

The Prime Minister said the month-long national lockdown may allow people to celebrate the big day.

He said: "Christmas is going to be different this year, perhaps very different.

"But it's my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now we can allow families across the country to be together."

The lockdown will start on Thursday and last until December 2.

Pubs, bars and restaurants will be shut while Brits will be told to stay at home as they were during the first lockdown earlier this year.

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said: "The idea that there is some perfect time" for a lockdown was a "complete misapprehension."

But he said Britain has a "better chance" of marking the festive season with the new measures in place.

He told the Downing Street press conference: "In terms of festivities, whether it's Christmas or any other religious tradition, we would have a much better chance of doing it with these measures than we would if these measures were not being taken today.

"I think let us see how this goes over the next few weeks."

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One of the Government's scientific advisers has said family Christmases could be made "relatively safe" if coronavirus cases are brought down sharply with stringent restrictions.

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said: "The idea of a lockdown is to save lives primarily.

"I think the only real way that we have a relatively safe Christmas is to get the incidence right down because otherwise, I think Christmas is very difficult for people – nobody wants to have a disrupted Christmas holiday period where you can't see your family and so on.

"So I think the only way that that can be safely achieved is to bring the incidence right down, and in order to do that we have to take action now and that action needs to be stringent, unfortunately.”

Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford has said there will be discussions with the UK Government on a "common approach to Christmas" across the UK.

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