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Four coronavirus lockdown options the government could implement for Christmas

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Brits will be desperately thinking ahead to Christmas now as lockdown grips the country.

Restrictions are currently in place stopping millions of households from mixing indoors or out.

The shutdown lasts until December 2, when Boris Johnson plans to return England to the three tier system.

But what will the festive period look like this year?

Government scientists have released modelling that suggests some kind of restrictions will need to be in place throughout December.

And whilst that may seem obvious, the question remains about how stringent these rules will be, Birmingham Mail reports.

Boris Johnson has previously assured the nation that he will try to have Christmas “as normal as possible”.

But without restrictions, Sage warned that coronavirus will spread quickly and infections will peak at the levels we saw in September.

Their report said: “If this is sustained until 2 December, the number of hospital admissions and deaths would be expected to fall until at least the second week of December. The longer-term outlook depends on both the nature of [restrictions] that are implemented in England after 2 December and policies over the festive period."

It adds: “If England returns to the same application of the tiering system in place before 5 November, then transmission will return to the same rate of increase as today.”

Rule of six lifted

One option being touted in the papers is that the rule of six could be lifted on Christmas Day to allow families to spend time together.

A source told The Sun on Sunday: “The PM is anxious to avoid being portrayed as Scrooge.

“He’s fully aware that millions of people are making big sacrifices to defeat this virus and is considering ways to allow them to experience the joy of Christmas for at last part of the holiday season.”

But this would likely have opposition from some scientists as household mixing is a major source of infection spread.

Tiers

It is highly likely that England will be returned to some form of tiered system as it was previously in.

Whether the tiers are exactly the same, or stricter, remains to be seen.

Professor Chris Whitty said previously that the tiers could be more stringent.

He told MPs: “I think that the Prime Minister would probably want us to look at whether there should be variations on exactly the same tiering system, rather than just assuming we would just revert to an absolutely identical one.”

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Lockdown

Britons will be hoping that there is not another extension to the lockdown – and legally, it would require another vote.

If the R rate is not sufficiently reversed, there will be questions about whether lockdown needs to be made longer.

MPs in the Commons will have to vote on whether lockdown is extended again. Last time, Boris Johnson’s plan was pushed through by a strong majority as Labour supported it.

However, there were a handful of Tory rebels who believed that a full lockdown was not the answer – so it might be that a third attempt faces a stronger opposition.

Uniform rules

The four nations of the UK all have different rules, despite many people having family across borders.

The four administrations are now planning to look at a joint approach to the Christmas period.

They met in a COBRA meeting on Monday morning, in which they “agreed on the importance of coordinating public messaging, in particular on travel both within the UK and abroad.”

A Cabinet Office spokesman added: “Officials from across the UK Government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive will work together on a joint approach to the Christmas period.”

  • Boris Johnson
  • Christmas
  • Family
  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown

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