cambridg– Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned people that “careful judgement” will need to be made when it comes to seeing elderly and at-risk relatives over Christmas.
In a speech to the House of Commons this afternoon, November 23, he said: “I can’t say that Christmas will be normal this year”.
He went on to explain how the Government were working with devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to allow people to meet with family members during the festive period.
“In a period of adversity, time spend with loved ones is even more precious for people of all faiths and none,” he explained.
“We all want some kind of Christmas, we need it, we certainly feel we deserve it. But what we don’t want to do is to throw caution to the winds and allow the virus to flare up again, forcing us all back into lockdown in January.”
The Prime Minister explained that the devolved administrations were working together on a “time-limited” Christmas dispensation “embracing the whole of the United Kingdom, and reflecting the ties of kinship across our islands.”
For all the latest from the announcement follow our live blog here.
However, before people get too excited to see grandparents and elderly relatives, he went on to warn: “This virus is obviously not going to grant a Christmas truce, it doesn’t know it’s Christmas, and families will need to make a careful judgement about the risk of visiting elderly relatives.”
Families will also need to keep in mind the risks of visiting relatives who are vulnerable to the virus, such as those on the clinically extremely vulnerable list who had previously been asked to shield.
He went on to say: “We’ll be publishing guidance for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable about how to manage the risks in each tier as well as over Christmas.”
As well as new tough tier restrictions, the mass roll-out of rapid lateral flow tests will also be key to suppressing the virus, according to the PM.
He said: “We’re beginning to deploy these tests so people will once again be able to hug and hold hands with loved ones instead of waving at them through a window.”
One specific example of where the testing could be used is in care homes.
Mr Johnson said that “by the end of the year” the roll-out of these tests will allow “every care home resident to have two visitors” who can be tested twice a week.