Coronavirus Christmas rules: Claims 5-days freedom will force new lockdown are ‘nonsense’ | UK | News (Reports)


Speaking to TalkRADIO, the professor of theoretical epidemiology said claims the Government will have to impose a 25-days national lockdown in January to counteract five days of coronavirus rules relaxation over the Christmas period are “nonsense”. She said: “I don’t think these things can be determined by analysts. I’m a theoretical epidemiologist and I know what models are good for.

“And they are fantastic conceptual tools. And when I say conceptual tools I don’t mean hairy-fairy notional things.

“I mean we’ve used models too to generate patterns for vaccines.

“But models are conceptual tools. You cannot use them to make this kind of very specific predictions about what one day of mixing equates to.”

She added: “I think it’s a load of nonsense.”

Boris Johnson will set out plans for a strengthened three-tier system of coronavirus restrictions to replace the national lockdown in England and to pave the way for a limited relaxation at Christmas.

READ MORE: Christmas: Three households can mix and care home rules relaxed

The Prime Minister is to detail his winter strategy on Monday afternoon, with a proposal to deploy a major testing scheme in an attempt to win over rebels on the Conservative backbenches.

It is understood that he will tell MPs that non-essential shops can open in all three tiers after the current restrictions expire on December 2, in a boost for retailers during the festive period.

However, pubs and restaurants will face the harshest of the new measures with businesses in the new Tier 3 only allowed to offer takeaways, while those in Tier 2 must serve food with any drinks, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The paper added cinemas will be allowed to reopen in England for places in Tier 1 and 2, and midnight mass and Christingle services will be permitted in all three tiers.

Mr Johnson will set out the basis of plans to allow a small number of households across the UK to mix over a limited number of days around Christmas but is not expected to be in a position to give the specifics.

Appearing virtually in the Commons from his test and trace-ordered quarantine, Mr Johnson is to announce major rapid testing programmes for all areas forced into the highest tier of restrictions.

He will also set out a trial of the repeat testing of close contacts of individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to prevent them from having to isolate, having got his proposals signed off by his Cabinet on Sunday.

Mr Johnson is expected to tell MPs that “we are not out of the woods yet” but that “with expansion in testing and vaccines edging closer to deployment, the regional tiered system will help get the virus back under control and keep it there”.

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He will hope that the testing plans will be enough to show he has a fresh approach to dozens of Conservative MPs in the Covid recovery group (CRG) which is threatening to oppose any new restrictions in a Commons vote unless they get detailed evidence to prove they will save more lives than they cost.

More areas are expected to enter the higher end of the tiered-system next month, which will be strengthened to safeguard the gains made during the four-week lockdown.

Ministers will on Thursday set out what tier each area will enter, while one easing expected is to the 10pm curfew rule for pubs and restaurants.

Mr Johnson is understood to be preparing to unveil a plan so that while last orders must be called at 10pm, people will get an extra hour to finish their food and drinks, with opening hours to be extended until 11pm.


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