Jeremy Vine: Expert slams Christmas COVID-19 restrictions
The Prime Minister announced a temporary relaxation of restrictions from December 23 to 27 permitting up to three households to form a “Christmas bubble” and celebrate together. But in light of the latest COVID-19 developments, including the emergence of another strain of coronavirus and London being moved into Tier 3 at short notice, many believe Mr Johnson should backtrack on his plan.
On Tuesday the UK recorded 506 deaths linked to coronavirus and 18,450 new cases – up from 385 fatalities and 12,282 infections on the same day last week.
Express.co.uk conducted an exclusive poll asking readers if they thought Mr Johnson should scrap his Christmas rules in order to stave off a possible third wave of coronavirus in early 2021.
Sixty percent of respondents (4,861) said he should rethink his decision to give households in England more freedom over the five-day period.
Thirty-nine percent (3,083) said he should stick to his guns and push ahead with the plan despite the recent surge in new cases. Only one percent (130) said they didn’t know.
In comments, many readers urged people not to meet up with elderly relatives, warning the consequences may be devastating.
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One person said: “If you bring together old people and young people in a small house for several days with the windows shut (it is winter), a lot of old people will end up with the virus and die.
“The Government will offset that by a lockdown in January so that the statistics balance but you won’t get your granny back.
“Give her a great Christmas and it could be her last.”
Another person said Mr Johnson was facing a “difficult problem” when deciding on whether to reverse his decision.
The reader said: “For a politician to have to make this decision is impossible because whatever he says will be wrong and people are not able to understand this difficulty – well that’s because they are selfish.”
But some readers expressed scepticism over whether Britons would obey Government orders and not meet with family members if the rules were reversed.
One person questioned how police officers could ensure that everyone was abiding by the strict rules on Christmas Day if a ban on household mixing was in place.
The reader said: “How could the police combat it?
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“The courts would be awash with cases if they tried.”
They predicted that “everyone will ignore lockdown on Christmas Day” regardless of what ministers say. Another reader said people should be allowed to make their own judgements regarding their social life this Christmas.
They said: “Do whatever it takes. What is one Christmas compared to the rest of your life?”
And yet another questioned why adults should be waiting for the go-ahead from their elected officials before they see elderly parents.
They said: “Please tell me why the Government should have to tell us not to visit grandma, grandad and have a house full of people?”
They added: “Is the population of the UK so pathetic they cannot think responsibly themselves?”
Urgent talks between UK leaders on the easing of restrictions over Christmas will resume on Wednesday amid increasing pressure to halt the plans over concerns of a fresh spike in cases.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove discussed the scheduled relaxation with the first ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on Tuesday but they did not confirm a new position.
However, a source in the UK Government said there were no plans to change the number of days or households allowed to mix in England, with leaders trying to agree on new safety warnings for Christmas.
A total of 8,074 readers took part in the Express.co.uk survey which ran from 8.40am to 9pm on Tuesday, December 15.
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