The Prime Minister has today (November 23) announced details of England’s new coronavirus tier system, confirming full lockdown will end next week and also adding details about what can be expected at Christmas time.
There have been rumours circulating that the government planned to allow a break in the coronavirus rules so families could get together for a few days over the festive period. It would see up to four households able to meet for up to five days.
While Boris Johnson didn’t explicitly say if these rumours were correct, he did discuss the difficulties of Christmas this year.
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He said: “In a period of adversity, time spend with loved ones is even more precious for people of all faiths and none.
“We all want some kind of Christmas, we need it, we certainly feel we deserve it. But what we don’t want to do is to throw caution to the winds and allow the virus to flare up again, forcing us all back into lockdown in January.”
The Prime Minister explained that the devolved administrations were working together on a “time-limited” Christmas dispensation “embracing the whole of the United Kingdom, and reflecting the ties of kinship across our islands.”
He went on to warn the public about being careful when meeting elderly grandparents or other vulnerable people, saying: “This virus is obviously not going to grant a Christmas truce, it doesn’t know it’s Christmas, and families will need to make a careful judgement about the risk of visiting elderly relatives.”
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Concluding, the Prime Minister said “Christmas cannot be normal” but said the UK has “every reason to hope and believe” spring could see an easing of restrictions.
He told the Commons: “This will still be a hard winter. Christmas cannot be normal and there’s a long road to spring.
“But we have turned a corner and the escape route is in sight.
“We must hold out against the virus until testing and vaccines come to our rescue and reduce the need for restrictions.
“And everyone can help speed up the arrival of that moment by continuing to follow the rules getting tested and self-isolating when instructed, remembering ‘hands, face, space’ and pulling together for one final push to the spring when we have every reason to hope and believe the achievements of our scientists will finally lift the shadow of this virus.”