The UK could be ‘heading for disaster’ over Christmas, scientists have warned as coronavirus cases increase in parts of the country after the second nationwide lockdown ends.
Independent Sage said the easing of restrictions over a five-day festive period created a “very real danger” of a third wave of Covid-19, and a public health expert described the government’s decision as a ” fault”.
It came when the reproduction number, or R-value, of coronavirus transmission across the UK soared to 1, with London and the south-east of England suffering the highest rate of new infections.
Meanwhile, rapid tests will be rolled out to local authorities in the highest level of restrictions from Monday, the government said.
Nursing Home Residents Face Christmas Without Family Visiting
Many nursing home residents may not be reunited with their loved ones until Christmas, a charity fears.
Some houses are worried about insurance issues and worried about the accuracy of rapid-result tests, Age UK said.
The government has promised that all residents at all levels will have the opportunity to receive visits before Christmas, unless it is dangerous due to an outbreak.
With two weeks to go, Age UK said that would not be a reality “unless something changes quickly”.
Caroline Abrahams, director of the charity Age UK, told BBC Breakfast: “Not all retirement homes are so keen on receiving visitors.
“Some of the big chains are more risk averse. Probably in part because they have their self-confidence blowing up their necks.
“We’ve heard some people say ‘why don’t we just wait for the vaccine to arrive? This would mean another very long delay for families and the elderly. ”
More than a million rapid-results lateral flow tests are being rolled out across England’s 385 largest care homes, but no details have yet emerged on when smaller homes will receive them.
Peter StubleyDecember 12, 2020 9:39 AM
Wales faces ‘rising tide’ of cases
Vaughan Gething, Wales’ health minister, warned his country was facing an “incredibly serious situation”.
He said there had been “a growing wave of infections” since the rules were relaxed on Nov. 9 and that he expected a further increase after Christmas and New Years.
He told BBC Breakfast: “This is extremely serious. It is up to all of us to play our part.
“All of those people doing the right thing should keep doing it, everyone needs to think back to how many people they see, what contact they have with them, and think about how you can reduce your costs. contacts to protect you and each other. . ”
Vaughan Gething said the Welsh government could theoretically break the deal between Westminster and decentralized administrations to relax social distancing rules for five days during the holiday season, but added that this would lead to a loss of confidence.
He said: “If we were to upset these rules, we would lose a lot of trust from a lot of people who stayed with us and we would also see I’m afraid that a range of people willing to ignore them. rules.
“Even with the deal in place, we’ll likely see a number of people go further anyway.
“That’s why we are forecasting an increase after Christmas and why I expect there will be an increase also after New Years Eve.”
Peter StubleyDecember 12, 2020 9:26 AM
Rapid tests deployed in level 3 zones from Monday
Rapid community tests will be deployed in level 3 areas with the aim of reducing rates of transmission of Covid-19 this winter, the government said.
A first wave of some 67 local authorities have received approval for testing programs to help them relax local measures.
More than 1.6 million rapid turnaround lateral flow tests are due to be delivered this month, the Department of Health and Welfare (DHSC) said.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the improved testing programs follow a successful pilot in Liverpool and will be a “vital additional tool” in finding asymptomatic cases.
Peter StubleyDecember 12, 2020 9:18 AM
Relaxing restrictions for Christmas is a ‘mistake’
Relaxing Covid restrictions for five days over the Christmas period is a “mistake” that will have “consequences”, according to a public health professor.
Linda Bauld, University of Edinburgh, said: “I think people need to think very carefully if they can see loved ones outside or do it in a very modest way.
“I’m also concerned about travel, people moving from high prevalence areas to low. ”
She told BBC Breakfast: “I think it’s going to have consequences. I fully understand why governments are doing this. People are fed up with the behavior.
“If you meet people inside other households, there is poor ventilation, maybe older family members are in these bubbles, unfortunately because the virus has not been eliminated… I think that means Christmas time is a risk.
“From a public health point of view, I have to be perfectly honest, I think this is a mistake. ”
Here is a reminder of the rules between December 23 and 27:
Peter StubleyDecember 12, 2020 9:13 AM
UK ‘heading for disaster’ at Christmas
“Right now we are heading for disaster,” said Professor Stephen Reicher, independent expert on Sage, University of St Andrews.
“Given the high levels of infection across the country and increasing levels in some areas (like London), it is inevitable that if we all choose to meet at Christmas, we will pay the price for the New Year.”
He added: “We urgently need to rethink the Christmas holidays. The government needs to clarify the risks of indoor mixing, and insisting that households can get together doesn’t mean they should.
“They need to provide the information and support they need to help people make the decisions that best ensure their safety, that of their families and that of their community. And for many of us, the right decision will be to show our love until we can meet and kiss each other. celebrate safely.
Peter StubleyDecember 12, 2020 9:09 AM
The public is invited to “rethink” Christmas plans
The public should “rethink Christmas” in light of soaring infection rates in parts of Britain and a possible third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, experts from the Independent Sage group have warned.
The panel, led by Sir David King, former chief science adviser to the UK government, said just because ministers told people they could meet did not mean they should or that he was necessarily safe to do so.
Coronavirus restrictions are to be relaxed across the UK for five days around Christmas.
Peter StubleyDecember 12, 2020 9:04 AM
The R rate falls to 1
Government science advisers said they were “not convinced” that the reproduction number, or R-value, of transmission of the coronavirus across the UK is less than 1 in all parts of England, in particular in London and parts of the South East.
When the number is greater than 1, an epidemic can grow exponentially.
Peter StubleyDecember 12, 2020 9:02 AM
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Peter StubleyDecember 12, 2020 8:57 AM