Christmas will be pretty different this year thanks to COVID.
Ahead of the government announcement later this week, families aren’t expected to be able to meet up en masse as they usually would at this time of year.
It’s been reported that three or four households could form bubbles and see each other over a handful of days.
However, if that happens, is it safe to see family this Christmas, especially when it comes to older relations?
What do Brits want to do this COVID Christmas?
One look on social media shows that Brits are entirely divided over what to do for the best.
Some will ignore whatever restrictions Boris Johnson puts in place and carry on with Christmas as normal.
Others, however, are opting for Christmas in their own households so they minimise the risk of passing COVID on to beloved family members.
What do the scientists say?
Scientists too are divided.
Dr Mike Tildesley, an expert in infection modelling at Warwick University, told the Mirror he supports an easing of restrictions over Christmas.
He said: “We need to think about people’s well-being and mental health, and allow families to be together at Christmas.”
However, he said in order to keep your family safe, restrictions need to be in place in the run up to the festive period.
You can’t go to meet your mates down the pub then go home to see your granny and all these family members.
“If three or four households are allowed to be together, those households need to be exclusive. You can’t go to meet your mates down the pub then go home to see your granny and all these family members,” he said.
‘Take sensible precautions’
Azeem Majeed, professor of primary care and public health at Imperial College London, disagrees with a potential relaxation of the rules.
He thinks the tiered system should remain in place over Christmas.
Professor Azeem warned that lifting restrictions too quickly would be undoing all the gains made during lockdown.
He pointed to that fact that most person-to-person transmission of the virus takes place within households.
Dr Tildesley added: “People just need to be aware of the risks and take sensible precautions. Just because the rule might say three or four households can meet, it doesn’t mean that number of households have to mix.”
What can I do to keep my relatives safe?
Both agree that there are things Brits can do to minimise the risks and keep your relatives safe, should you want to meet up indoors this Christmas.
Isolating for a few weeks before Christmas is a “sensible” idea.
The doctors both agree that taking children out of school isn’t something they encourage.
However, if there’s a ‘particularly vulnerable relative”, Dr Tildesley urges people to do what they can to minimise the risk.
Professor Majeed added that physical distancing should be maintained at all times.
Windows should also be opened to ensure good ventilation.
And regular hand washing should also be undertaken.
When it comes to travelling to see family, they also have some advice.
Travel in private car rather than using public transport to minimise your exposure to the virus.
And stay local if at all possible.
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