Families ’illusions were plunged into Christmas chaos today as the government asked them to consider removing festive gatherings with elderly and vulnerable relatives.
Despite many people buying tickets for the trip and ordering giant turkeys, a cabinet minister has proposed postponing plans for large gatherings: “Easter is the new Christmas.” Robert Genrick said every family should now have 11 hours of “conversations around the breakfast table” and decide whether exposing grandparents to young people who could carry the virus is really safe.
Boris Johnson urged people to be “extremely careful” when celebrating Christmas. It came as he told lawmakers that four UK countries had agreed to continue “in principle” by easing corona virus restrictions ahead of Christmas.
The government has rejected calls to rescind the Christmas relaxation of the Govt laws, despite new warnings from scientists and doctors that infections will continue to rise.
The new advice places families with the responsibility to determine what is safe for their loved ones. This includes considering whether a Christmas with older relatives is sensible and staying local if possible.
Linda Balt, a professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, said she would like the U-turn “to avoid the deaths we will have as a result in January.” As a fall, Christmas celebrations should be conducted in the “simplest way possible”.
Professor Graham Medley, chairman of the Scientific Epidemiology Committee (SPI-M) on modeling, which advises the government, said people were at personal risk of infecting loved ones with Govt and contributing to the possibility of the NHS being “violated”. He told the BBC’s Radio 4’s Today: We decided it was mutual, but I can find one of my kids. “
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham told Sky News: “I’m asking ministers this morning to use the phrase” Easter is the new Christmas. ” They are in danger of becoming very confused now … which must be destroyed today. ”
Formal talks with reserved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have resumed, amid speculation that travel between certain countries or regions may be banned. While the Westminster government will not change the laws for the UK, a source said the four UK countries could end up with slightly different approaches.
Vaccine Minister Nadeem Jahawi said 137,897 people had received the jab so far. Although Pfizer was given at least 800,000 shots of the vaccine, he called it a “good start.”
The confusing picture follows seven leading medical journals, seven days after the law was relaxed, with crowds claiming that “many lives will be lost”. The British Medical Association echoed the call for urgent consideration of Labor leader Sir Khair Stormer.
Mr Genrick said his own parents, in the eighties, had decided to cancel plans to attend a large meeting with his family. He said as the Govt-19 vaccine becomes available to the elderly over the next few months, others may consider doing the same.
“Why not wait until 2021 and reunite the family?” He asked.
Mr Genric said Christmas freedoms are available because “you can’t legislate for every event”. He continued: “People have to decide, in my experience people are more than likely to come to those sensible judgments.”
He pointed to “very serious consequences” in the United States after families gathered for a traditional Thanksgiving turkey meal.
He told Sky: “It’s a virus that thrives on social interaction, so it’s costly to bring more people together, even in this short period of time. This will have consequences in terms of increasing the rate. It will rise. ”
But he stressed: “I think it’s right for us to leave it to individual families to come to a verdict.” If keeping Christmas laws intact was a political deception, he challenged today, to which he replied: “Of course not. Throughout the epidemic we have consistently made difficult decisions. ”
He proposed that families could almost meet at Christmas, “although Diwali, Ramadan, Passover, etc., other beliefs have done it and made it a success.”
With cases on the rise in London, Professor Medley said: “The main driver of the spread at Christmas is going back in time.” An expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine explained that with Covid people faced personal risk of attacking loved ones and contributing to the potential for the NHS to be “violated” in the coming weeks, “we do not have much headroom.”