Christmas bubbles could lead to 'unrelenting tsunami' of Covid cases, top nurse warns

CHRISTMAS bubbles could lead to an “unrelenting tsunami” of Covid cases as multiple households mix over the festive period, a top nurse has warned.

Brits will be allowed to form a bubble of up to three households between December 23 and 27 – no matter what Tier they are in.

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But some areas have now refused to rule out imposing fresh restrictions as cases continue to climb.

Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said the relaxation of rules would “undoubtedly” lead to more cases.

She said ministers should give "fresh and more detailed" advice to the public with a week to go until Christmas.

"After a difficult year, it is everybody's instinct to want to be together and see loved ones – especially those who live far apart or feel isolated. But what is at stake is coming into sharp focus.

"Travelling and family visits associated with this time of year will undoubtedly lead to more cases, more pressure on NHS and care services, and more deaths.

“By turning the second and third waves into an unrelenting tsunami, we would begin 2021 in the worst possible way."

This virus isn't taking Christmas off and nor should we

 

A rise in cases in Northern Ireland saw ministers announce a six-week lockdown starting on Boxing Day – as they try to curtail the spread of the virus.

Scotland has refused to rule out tougher measures and ministers in Wales have already suggested that the relaxation will be a threat to the NHS.

It comes as more areas were pushed into tough Tier 3 restrictions yesterday and Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that everyone needed to take responsibility.

Dame Kinnair said that nurses won’t be able to enjoy the festive period as they will “know what awaits them in January”.

She added that the government needed to be clear about the risks involved at Christmas.

"This virus isn't taking Christmas off and nor should we”, she said.

TACKLE THE VIRUS

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said "we rule nothing out" when asked about the possibility of a national lockdown after Christmas.

He told BBC Breakfast: "We think the tier system is a very effective way, of course, (but) you know, we rule nothing out. This Government is absolutely determined to tackle this virus."

His comments come after Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this week urged Brits in Tier 3 areas to not travel to Tier 2 or 1 areas.

Those travelling to different tiers will have to adhere to the rules in the tier they are staying in.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) also urged families to wear face coverings and masks during the festive season in order to limit the risk of the virus spreading.

David Nabarro, a World Health Organisation (WHO) special envoy working on Covid-19, said the price of such a relaxation "could well be very high".

Urging people to think carefully about their plans, he told Times Radio: "Just ask yourself, is there any way in which you can perhaps not have the family get-togethers this year?

"It's much better not to do it when there's this kind of virus about."

Under the top level of restrictions, pubs and restaurants can only offer takeaway or delivery services and indoor entertainment venues are shut.

From Saturday, 68 per cent of the population will be living under strict Tier 3 rules.

While places such as Buckinghamshire will be pushed into Tier 3, Britsol and North Somerset will move into Tier 2 and Herefordshire will go into Tier 1.

NHS bosses had urged the Government not to drop any Tier 3 areas to 2 and warned that they need to be "cautious".

NHS Providers, which represents the 216 NHS acute, ambulance, community and mental health trusts in England, had penned a note to Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning of a third wave.

Urging "extreme caution" on moving areas down a tier, organisation officials said: "Trust leaders are worried that if infection rates remain as high as they are the moment, relaxing the restrictions will trigger a third wave."

Officials want people seeing different bubbles for Christmas to cut all unnecessary social contact from at least the 20th – or earlier if there are plans to meet on the 23rd.

Bubbles must be decided in advance and can't be changed – although Brits can travel between tiers and nations, as long as it's within the rules.

Those in Tiers 1 and 2 can meet friends from outside bubbles – provided it's outside, as per the current rules.

Mr Johnson has advised people to decide on their bubbles by Friday.

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