Christmas and COVID: UK Government warns against hugging elderly relatives

Boris Johnson’s chief medical adviser, Professor Chris Whitty has warned people not to hug their elderly relatives during the five-day restriction break at Christmas. 

England is due to end its second national lockdown on 2 December.

The Prime Minister states that “if we ease off now, we risk losing control of this virus all over again, casting aside our hard-won gains and forcing us back to a New Year national lockdown with all the damage that would mean.”

With the “tough measures” of the three-tiered system of localised restrictions, it will be the “best way to avoid this outcome” before the five-day relaxing period at Christmas.

However, Whitty has urged people to avoid physical contact with grandparents or other elderly relatives, who are most at risk of the coronavirus. Meaning, he would not “encourage someone to hug and kiss their elderly relatives.

“It’s not against the law – and that’s the whole point – you can do it within the rules that are there, but it does not make sense because you could be carrying the virus.

“And, if you’ve got an elderly relative that would not be the thing you would want to do in a period where we’re running up to a point where we might be able to protect older people.”

Protection for the elderly could come soon as research suggests that the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, manufactured by AstraZeneca, demonstrates a “strong” immune response in adults, aged 60 to 70. This age group is the one most at risk from coronavirus. Therefore, researchers state these findings are “encouraging”.

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