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Should a week-long break from Covid-19 rules happen at Christmas?

PUBLISHED: 20:28 21 November 2020 | UPDATED: 20:28 21 November 2020

Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock said it was too early to say what restrictions might be in place Picture: PA

Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock said it was too early to say what restrictions might be in place Picture: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

The Government has been urged not to let “everything loose” in the lead-up to Christmas after it emerged that families could be allowed to meet for up to a week as part of a UK-wide relaxation of coronavirus rules.

Several families could be allowed to join a bubble and to mix between December 22 and 28, it has been reported.

Downing Street insiders have suggested that discussions on what Christmas will look like are still ongoing.

But Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said: “I would also say to the Government, don’t just go towards Christmas and let everything loose.

“What you need to do is keep a steady approach that will keep the numbers going in the way they are currently going in the North West and in Greater Manchester, and that will relieve the pressures on the NHS come January.”

A centre for administering Covid-19 vaccines, like the testing facility at Copdock, is to be established in Suffolk by December 1. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNA centre for administering Covid-19 vaccines, like the testing facility at Copdock, is to be established in Suffolk by December 1. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Yesterday it was revealed that West Suffolk has the lowest coronavirus case rate in the country, followed by Mid Suffolk and Tendring in the week to November 16.

MORE: Coronavirus in Suffolk: West Suffolk has lowest Covid case rate in country

Former chief government scientific adviser Sir Mark Walport told Times Radio there was “something iconic in people’s minds” about Christmas but that it “doesn’t make sense to have big parties” this year.

He added that UK lockdown measures appeared to be working but that people should continue to follow the rules.

“It’s absolutely clear that if you were to stop everything and take the brakes off completely, then infection would start growing again and so the question is what measures will come in after December 2?” he said.

“I’m sure there will need to be continuing measures of some sort.

“Surely now, when there is the prospect of a vaccine, is not the time to give up.”

Health Secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock told a Downing Street briefing on Friday it was still too early to say what contact people will be able to have over the festive period.

Mr Hancock said it would be a “boost” for the UK if a “safe, careful and sensible” set of plans could be agreed between the devolved nations.

He said: “Over Christmas I know how important it is that we have a system in place, a set of rules that both keeps people safe but also allows people to see their loved ones.”


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