Coronavirus news: Christmas five-day relaxation of restrictions is ‘a mistake’ | UK | News (Reports)


To loosen restrictions over the Christmas period has been labelled a mistake by Edinburgh University Professor Linda Bauld. Ms Bauld said there was a concern about people travelling from “high to low prevalence areas” to see family and friends. Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething said suddenly changing the Covid restrictions over Christmas could cause “huge issues about trust”.

If case rates stayed high there has been discussion in Wales about abandoning the relaxation of lockdown.

Mr Gething said “of course we could” change the restrictions for the Christmas period, but “much of what we have done during the course of the pandemic is because people have trusted the government, when we said things we kept our word”.

He said a change in restrictions would have people “completely ignoring the rules”.

The Welsh minister said he was worried that may be the case during the five-day relaxation agreement in place.

He added: “That’s why we are anticipating an increase after Christmas.

“We expect there’ll be an increase after New Year’s Eve as well.”

Mr Gething said he would not rule out another lockdown if cases increase.

He added: “But the agreement around the Christmas period isn’t just a political settlement.

READ MORE: Wales facing ANOTHER firebreak lockdown amid fresh COVID-19 surge

The latest official figures from the Government have revealed that there are 21,502 new positive cases in the UK.

This has seen the total number of people infected in the past seven days rise to 124,988.

In Wales, positive tests for coronavirus surpassed 100,000 on Saturday.

This came a day after Wales recorded its highest case rates since the beginning of the pandemic.

The Government has said that no more than three households can stay together to form a “Christmas bubble” from 23 to 27 December.

This Christmas relaxation of restrictions has been agreed by all four UK nations.

Speaking about the relaxation of restrictions Professor Bauld told BBC Breakfast that “from a public health perspective, I have to be perfectly honest, I think this is a mistake.”

She added: “I think people have to think very carefully whether they can see loved ones outside or do it in a very, very modest way.”

She added there was “nothing to stop” governments reversing the rule, but the problem is they’ve made that commitment to people across the UK,
and that may affect trust in government if they roll back on that”.

Government Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty warned people to be “very, very sensible”.

He also said that people should not go “too far” over Christmas.

He called the Christmas holidays a “very risky period”.


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