Government could ban household mixing over Christmas even after lockdown ends

The Government has hinted that household mixing could be banned over Christmas to bring down coronavirus infection rates.

As it stands, the current lockdown in England is due to expire on December 2.

However, Government ministers and health officials have offered a range of different predictions and scenarios for the build up to the festive season.

Conservative Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the tier system could be overhauled and is hoping for "a much more normal December".

He was asked if the Government may ban indoor household mixing over Christmas on Times Radio.

Jenrick responded: “We don't know that yet.

"The hard yards that we've done in November were designed to enable most people in England to have a much more normal December so that we can go to the shops, we can use hospitality and, as far as possible, we can be together as families at Christmas.

“We can see from the data that the tiered approach in October and early November was having an impact, particularly in some parts of the country.

“It's too early to say the true impact of the new national measures because there's a lag time of two or three weeks, but hopefully by the end of November we'll be in a position to take that judgment.”

He also told BBC Breakfast that a higher tier restriction may be introduced, with the previous highest set at three.

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Jenrick said: “The Tier 3 that we had before was just considered a baseline.

“And then we did ask local areas whether they would be willing to go further and some did.”

In his constituency of Nottinghamshire, the local council imposed a ban on off-licence alcohol sales after 9pm.

Dr Susan Hopkins, a Public Health England director, said on Monday, November 16, that Tier 1 measures may be bolstered to ease transmission.

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Addressing the nation during a coronavirus briefing with Health Secretary Matt Hancock, she said: "Tier 3 and especially Tier 3 plus in the north has had an effect on reducing the numbers of cases in the north-west and we can see in the north-west a declining number of cases now.

“Tier 2 seemed to hold in some areas and not so well in others so really it depends on how fast transmissions are occurring and how well the individuals in the population are taking that advice in.

“We are seeing very little effect from Tier 1 and I think when we look at what tiers may be there in future we will have to think about strengthening them in order to get us through the winter months until the vaccine is available for everyone.”

Hancock refused to rule out making a coronavirus vaccine mandatory yesterday, November 16.

He told talkRADIO: “Of course I want as many people as possible to take it, and we won't be allowing it, we won't be regulating it…. until it is both effective, which we know with the Biontech-Pfizer one, and safe.

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