Give Brits an extra day off in 2021 to celebrate Christmas safely, expert tells Boris

BRITS should be given an extra day off in 2021 to celebrate Christmas safely with loved ones, an expert has suggested.

The Government has come under increasing pressure to rethink the easing of Covid-19 restrictions around the festive period.

It comes after two leading medical journals today warned that allowing families to spend time together would “cost many lives”.

In a rare joint editorial, the British Medical Journal and Health Service Journal called for the “rash” decision to be axed.

They said that the Government “is about to blunder into another major error that will cost many lives”.

One expert has suggested that instead of letting three households mingle indoors December 23-27, the Government should designate a day next year to celebrate.

The government should designate a day in 2021, after the vulnerable population in the UK have been vaccinated, to celebrateProfessor Ashley WoodcockUniversity of Manchester

Professor Ashley Woodcock, an expert in respiratory medicine at the University of Manchester, said: “Christmas is uniquely designed to mix young and old. This will bring severe disease and death to the elderly. 

“This would be an avoidable catastrophe… just in time for New Year.

“Instead the government should designate a day in 2021, after the vulnerable population in the UK have been vaccinated, to celebrate – irrespective of religious group.”

The joint editorial warning, authored by HSJ editor Alastair McLellan and BMJ editor-in-chief Fiona Godlee said: “When Government devised the current plans to allow household mixing over Christmas it had assumed the Covid-19 demand on the NHS would be decreasing.

“But it is not, it is rising, and the emergence of a new strain of the virus has introduced further potential jeopardy.

“Members of the public can and should mitigate the impact of the third wave by being as careful as possible over the next few months. 

In a joint letter Alastair McLellan, Editor, HSJ and Fiona Godlee, Editor in Chief, The BMJ, outlined what needs to be done in order to curb the spread.

They highlighted that while London and neighbouring counties will enter Tier 3 on Wednesday, areas that have remained in Tier 2 are still witnessing an increase in cases and hospital admissions.

These measures, they claim “are clearly inadequate”.

Ministers are meeting tomorrow (16 December) to review the restrictions for England which could mean more areas moving tiers.

They said: “When government devised the current plans to allow house-hold mixing over Christmas it had assumed the Covid-19 demand on the NHS would be decreasing.

“But it is not, it is rising, and the emergence of a new strain of the virus has introduced further potential jeopardy.

“Members of the public can and should mitigate the impact of the third wave by being as careful as possible over the next few months.

“But many will see the lifting of restrictions over Christmas as permission to drop their guard.”

It said the government need to “reverse” its Christmas decision and extend the tiers over Christmas.

“But many will see the lifting of restrictions over Christmas as permission to drop their guard.

“It should now reverse its rash decision to allow household mixing and instead extend the tiers over the five-day Christmas period in order to bring numbers down in the advance of a likely third wave.”

Urgent talks are taking place between the leaders of the devolved administrations and Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon argued there is a case for lessening the planned freedoms for the festive period to combat a rise in infections and indicated she could break with the four-nations approach.

But her Welsh counterpart Mark Drakeford said the current plans were a “hard-won agreement” and that he will “not lightly put it aside” ahead of the meeting on Tuesday.

Downing Street conceded that the planned five-day Christmas easing to allow three households to mix indoors between December 23-27 was being kept “under constant review”.