By Rachael Grealish
Boris Johnson has told the public to have themselves a ‘merry little Christmas’ when updating his message on the UK COVID-19 Christmas rules.
During a press conference today, Wednesday December 16, the Prime Minister said although the COVID situation is worse when they drew up the current five relaxed days Christmas rules, they will not change these but urges people to aim for a smaller Christmas.
The PM said the five days of relaxed rules is a ‘maximum, not targets to aim for’ and to exercise ‘extreme caution’.
He said: “Of course, it’s always going to be safest to minimise the number of people you meet and that means that, if you’re visiting others over Christmas, we’re asking you in the five days beforehand, as early as this Friday, to reduce the number of people you’re in contact with to the lowest possible, because obviously this virus spreads through human contact.”
Johnson also said people, if at all possible, should avoid travelling from a high prevalence areas to a low and people should avoid staying away from home overnight.
When asked if it was better to simply stop people meeting over the festive season he said it would be ‘inhuman’ to try to cancel Christmas.
But he wants people to think about what they can do to minimise contact at Christmas and they should exercise their personal responsibility – including aiming to avoid seeing elderly relatives until they’ve had their vaccine.
The PM was joined by the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty who said the modelling shows that more mixing at Christmas would lead to more deaths and stressed the importance of people doing what they can to reduce the risks.
Johnson ended his press conference using a joke that he used in his opening statement, saying: “Have yourself a merry little Christmas but this year, alas, preferably a very little Christmas.”
He also added that he hopes next year it will be back to ‘Christmas as normal for everybody’.
The Christmas rules throughout the UK mean between 23 and 27 December:
- you can form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households
- you can only be in one Christmas bubble
- you cannot change your Christmas bubble
- you can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble
- you can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces
- you can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier you are meeting in
- if you form a Christmas bubble, you should not meet socially with friends and family that you do not live with in your home or garden unless they are part of your Christmas bubble