England won’t know if Christmas will be cancelled “for weeks”, health chiefs have warned.
The country is currently on lockdown till December 2, with indoor mixing between households banned until then.
However, speaking during last night’s Government briefing, Public Health England director Dr Susan Hopkins hinted that the end of lockdown won’t necessarily give Christmas gatherings a green light.
Will Christmas be cancelled?
She said we will start to see if lockdown is working and cases of coronavirus fall “over the next week”.
However, that won’t be reflected in hospital admissions for “another week or so”.
This means that any “opening up decisions” won’t be made just yet.
And, even when they are, the government could decide to tighten restrictions at the bottom end of the tiered system, which the country is expected to return to.
We will have to think about strengthening restrictions in order to get us through the winter months until the vaccine is available for everyone.
Asked what might happen after lockdown ends, she said: “We have recognised that the tiering of the country has had a different effect in each area.”
Need to ‘get through’ the winter months
And, it appears for those living in tier one, it’s not good news when it comes to Christmas.
“We are seeing very little effect from Tier 1.
“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,” she said.
What has the government said?
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick delivered more bad news.
He said a “definitive decision” about Christmas would not be made until the end of November.
Health secretary Matt Hancock, meanwhile, did little to reassure Brits keen to see their extended family over the festive period.
He said: “We absolutely hope to be able to replace the national lockdown with a tiered system similar to what we had before.
“But we of course are assessing that and assessing how we can make sure that that will be effective.”
He also said it was “too early” to know whether England’s lockdown would be extended past December 2.
Government scientists last week also said a Christmas lockdown shouldn’t be ruled out.
Head to our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and tell us what you think of our story.