November 18, 2020 1.02 pm

New Year lockdown after festive relaxation

For every day of relaxation, two days of tighter measures needed

Government advisers want “a Christmas as close to normal as possible” but warned tighter restrictions would be needed afterwards.

At a data briefing in Downing Street today, Dr Susan Hopkins from Public Health England said the final decision would rest with the government, but she thinks some sort of Christmas was possible.

This includes some mixing of households in order to allow people to celebrate properly.

She said: “Coming into Christmas we need to be very careful about the number of contacts that we have, to reduce transmission before Christmas and get our cases as low as possible.

“Then […] once we have got past the Christmas period, if there has been a release and some socialisation, we will all have to be very responsible and reduce those contacts again.”

Advisers warned that for every day that measures were released, two days of tighter restrictions would be needed.

Professor Dame Angela McLean, the UK’s deputy chief scientific advisor, said advice had been submitted to the government.

She added: “What’s really important is we go into a festive week when we want to mix with our friends and our family with the number of infections in the community as low as possible.”

Other headlines from the briefing included:

  • The latest R (infection) rate nationally is between 1-1.2
  • The number of people testing positive is still growing, but not as much as recently
  • Hospital admissions are beginning to see some plateauing – though the full effect of the current measures is still not reflected in the data
  • 81% of adults were following guidance, with 98% wearing face coverings
  • 38% of people are working from home due to the pandemic

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