Christmas: Jenrick warned Covid guidance will cause ‘third wave’
Boris Johnson’s Government thinks people should make their own personal decision about gathering for Christmas but they should also consider the COVID-19 risks to the vulnerable, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said. The Government came under pressure on Tuesday to revise its plan to relax COVID-19 restrictions for five days around Christmas, with two influential medical journals making a rare joint appeal for the policy to be scrapped. Sky host Niall Paterson asked the Cabinet Minister: “Legions of scientists all suggesting that this Christmas bubble will lead to a third wave and deaths.”
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Jenrick said: “The legal framework is there, people have the ability to make use of that if they want to but no one is being asked to do that.
“We all have to come to our own judgements.”
He added: “It’s a matter of your own personal judgement and my instinct is that Christmas is one of those unique occasions where people do want to come to their own judgements about what is right for them and their family.
“Many people will conclude that actually, it is better to have a smaller group, just your own household.
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“We’ve seen many other holidays and celebrations conducted in that way over the course of the year including other religious festivals.
“It’s certainly something that can be done and has been done but it’s a matter for your own judgment.”
Mr Jenrick suggested some people may want to put off large family gatherings until the spring.
“Easter can be the new Christmas,” he said.
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More people in Britain oppose the government’s plans to relax COVID-19 restrictions for five days around Christmas than support them, a poll published on Wednesday showed.
Fifty percent of respondents in the poll conducted by Kantar said they opposed or strongly opposed the planned relaxation while 40 percent backed it.
Two influential medical journals made a rare joint appeal on Tuesday, arguing the government should reverse the decision to allow up to three households to meet at home for five days over Christmas.
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The Kantar poll also showed 65 percent of respondents would definitely or probably get a COVID-19 vaccination, up two points from a previous poll in November, while 23% would definitely or probably not get a jab, up one point.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove will resume crisis talks over the plans for up to three households to mix between December 23 and 27 with leaders of the devolved administrations on Wednesday morning.
A UK Government source acknowledged the four UK nations may take differing approaches, but insisted there would be no change in the law for the festive freedoms in England.
Instead it was said that the leaders would continue discussions on strengthening warnings, including advising people to stay local and reconsider whether they should spend Christmas with the elderly and clinically vulnerable.
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