Christmas may be very different, but families could be together, says PM
Boris Johnson has warned that Christmas could be “very different” this year, but believes that a lockdown in England may allow families to be together.
The Prime Minister’s view was supported by his chief scientific adviser Professor Chris Whitty, who said the lockdown, which is due to end on December 2, would be key.
Addressing the nation, Mr Johnson said: “Christmas is going to be different this year, perhaps very different. But it’s my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now we can allow families across the country to be together.”
Prof Whitty told the press conference that “the idea that there is some perfect time” for a lockdown was a “complete misapprehension”.
He added: “There is basically no perfect time and there are no good solutions, all the solutions are bad, and what we’re trying to do is have the fewest – the least bad – set of solutions at a time which you actually achieve the kind of the balance that needs to be struck between all these things that ministers have to make decisions on.
“In terms of festivities, whether it’s Christmas or any other religious tradition, we would have a much better chance of doing it with these measures than we would if these measures were not being taken today.
“I think let us see how this goes over the next few weeks.”
Mr Johnson confirmed that the Westminster government was speaking to the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland about “plans for Christmas and beyond”.
Earlier in the week, Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford said there were going to be discussions with the UK government on a “common approach to Christmas” across the UK.
Before the lockdown was announced, one of the Government’s scientific advisers said family Christmases could be made “relatively safe” if coronavirus cases are brought down sharply with stringent restrictions.
Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The idea of a lockdown is to save lives primarily.
“I think the only real way that we have a relatively safe Christmas is to get the incidence right down because otherwise I think Christmas is very difficult for people – nobody wants to have a disrupted Christmas holiday period where you can’t see your family and so on.
“So I think the only way that that can be safely achieved is to bring the incidence right down, and in order to do that we have to take action now and that action needs to be stringent, unfortunately.”