It's not the time of year to be happy … Families were advised by government scientists last night to stay away from singing, dancing, and even board games when they meet for Christmas.
In bleak winter news for those who enjoy dipping on turkey and trimmings, the British were also advised not to enjoy their festive dinner for too long.
People should consider using place names to avoid contamination at the dining table – and be careful while washing up, says Sage Scientific Advisory Board.
And they should consider self-isolating for two weeks before and after the five-day holiday bubble break to minimize the risk of the virus spreading.
Families were advised by government scientists last night to stay away from singing, dancing and even board games when they meet for Christmas (photo in stock).
In a series of documents yesterday, the scientists warned that easing restrictions during the holiday season could lead to a "sharp spike" in transmission rates, which could ultimately "slightly double" the prevalence of the virus.
The Council was revealed yesterday in documents discussed at meetings between October 29 and earlier this week.
A document titled “Important Evidence and Advice Regarding Festivals and Celebrations During Covid-19” states: “Avoid repetitive and extended overnight stays.
"If possible and circumstances permit, you must quarantine yourself for two weeks before and after the visit." It added that it might also be helpful to keep existing "bubbles" instead of creating new ones.
Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance said on November 26th that they want people to see their families, "because that's what Christmas is about".
Separate documents suggested that families should apply a number of rules in the household – including who does the washing up. Scientists said those who meet would "give up their vigilance towards those they are closest to".
The detailed guidance, derived from recommendations by the Sage subcommittees but not officially adopted, suggested that people should use place names to position themselves safely at the dining table and reduce the use of shared serving spoons.
It said that meals should be kept as short as possible and that anyone cleaning up should be vigilant when putting dishes in the dishwasher.
Hugs, kisses, and handshakes are best avoided, and gestures such as "elbow bumps or air greetings" are used instead.
It has been suggested that families should be advised to avoid board games that involve sharing objects and recommend hands-free entertainment such as trivia questions.
In any disappointment or relief, karaoke is not recommended – with singing and physical activities like dancing that must be avoided.
Anyone determined to have a celebratory chant should turn down their volume, open windows to prevent droplets from spreading, and possibly even wear a face mask.
The guidelines were compiled for Sage by the Environmental and Modeling Group and the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviors (SPI-B). It prompts bubbles to create a schedule that specifies how they will interact and encourage people to act as if someone in the group was infected.
Whenever possible, those in the central household should try to use a different bathroom from their visitors.
In a series of documents yesterday, the scientists warned that easing restrictions during the holiday season could lead to a "sharp spike" in transmission rates, which could ultimately "slightly double" the prevalence of the virus (file photo)
The document recognizes that the guidelines will be more difficult to follow for those on lower incomes and in smaller homes and suggests that assistance be provided.
Papers also show that scientists have raised concerns about a Christmas amnesty, which increases the risk that people will no longer take the rules seriously afterwards.
A November 5 document states: "If the guidelines are relaxed for some festivals, some may justify that this can be applied to other celebrations."
Scientists admitted, however, that adhering to strict rules over Christmas can become a source of anger and cause celebrations to become a "place of resistance."
They point out that one of the biggest challenges in festive raids will be enforcement, adding that police conduct in private homes is "almost impossible".
SAGE Christmas Warning: Covid cases could easily double in a matter of days if restrictions are eased between December 23rd and 27th, advisors claim
By Luke Andrews for MailOnline
Number 10 scientists sobering warned ministers that coronavirus cases could "easily double" if the lockdown is eased for five days over Christmas.
In a report presented to the government on Nov. 18, the Pandemic Influenza Scientific Group on Modeling (SPI-M), included in SAGE, said that relaxation of the rules "will lead to increased transmission and prevalence, possibly by a large amount ".
The group warned that this could happen in parallel with what happened when universities and schools returned in late September, which has been blamed for sparking the second wave of epidemics.
In the official document, SPI-M added: “Significant mingling of people over a short period of time, especially those who do not contact regularly during a month, poses a significant risk of widespread transmission.
Other respiratory infections suggest that older family members are more exposed to respiratory diseases during the normal Christmas season. The prevalence could easily double during a few days of the Christmas season and continue to increase as new infections return to their routine networks. & # 39;
It was announced this week that Brits from up to three different households will be allowed to mingle indoors and spend the night together between December 23rd and 27th.
The measures were approved despite the strong backlash from independent experts and academics within the government warning that January is already the toughest time of the year for the NHS.
Also in the document submitted by SPI-M, the group did not warn people susceptible to coronavirus to carry out the Christmas cleanup. The scientists said the elderly and those with health problems should not do housework during the holiday season, as cleaning other people's surfaces, dishes and clothing is exposed to a variety of germs and potentially Covid this year.
It is because the Briton recorded 16,022 new coronavirus cases and 521 deaths today as infections continue to drop sharply and the death toll rises. Infections today represent a 20.9 percent decrease from 20,252 last week and an 8.7 percent decrease from 17,555 yesterday.
The 521 deaths announced in the last 24 hours are 1.9 percent higher than last Friday's 511 and 4.6 percent higher than yesterday's 498. Covid deaths are two to three weeks behind the infection trend as people need time to to get seriously ill with the disease. Experts believe the deaths will finally subside next month after the country's second lockdown ends.
Influenza infections usually appear after Christmas. These are shown in the graphic above from 2016 to last year. Week 52 is the last week of the year from December 25th to December 31st
The graph above from surveys carried out for the SAGE advisory group SPI-M-O showed that many people were still planning to celebrate Christmas
In their logs, SPI-M-O also modeled the effects of a six-week lockdown on Covid-19 infections from November 2nd. A four-week lockdown was declared in England on November 5th
The coronavirus reproduction rate in the UK may have fallen below the critical number one (see left). SAGE estimates that every region in England except London and the South East has an R below one. A growing number of Tory MPs (listed on the right) have openly criticized the government's local lockdown levels
In other coronavirus news:
- An official graph showing coronavirus outbreaks across the country suggested there are parts of the north of England and the Midlands that could be “de-escalated” from Tier 2 or Tier 3 in January if they die Can continue to fight disease.
- The UK R-rate is now estimated at 0.9 to 1.0. This is the lowest estimate since the summer and means the country's coronavirus outbreak is likely to shrink.
- SAGE has warned that a brief breach of social distancing rules over Christmas could lead to a doubling of Covid cases.
- The pub rules will be so strict in tier 2 areas that customers – who are only allowed in if they buy a “substantial meal” – will have to leave as soon as they have finished eating and are no longer allowed to drink.
- Chinese scientists claim that the coronavirus originally came from India in the summer of 2019 and spread to humans because they drank from the same water as animals during a heat wave.
- A senior government scientist said the MHRA had "enough" data on how well Oxford's vaccine was working to get it approved for public use.
- Downing Street reportedly asked AstraZeneca to wrap its coronavirus vaccine doses with the Union Jack printed on them, but the Prime Minister's office has since denied the claim.
- All but three areas of England saw decreases in coronavirus infection rates in the week ending November 22, data from Public Health England shows.
Only three local areas saw Covid rates spike last week
Only three local authorities in England saw their coronavirus infection rates spike last week, official data showed – although 99 percent of the country will be slammed into second or third stage lockdowns next week.
And more than half – 97 out of 149 – saw a decrease in the number of Covid cases by at least 25 percent, according to Public Health England's weekly infection monitoring report.
Medway, East Sussex and Redbridge in London were the three authorities to see Covid-19 infections rise 28.4 percent, 5.2 percent and 5 percent, respectively, as lockdown restrictions entered their third week.
Health ministry officials claim the percentage change in Covid infection rates was used as a key criterion in determining levels, alongside pressure on the local NHS, overall infection rate, cases in over 60 years and the proportion of tests that were done for Covid-19 are positive.
However, figures support claims made by angry MPs and some scholars that ministers who refused to provide the exact thresholds for imposing restrictions on certain areas should have moved more local authorities to looser levels because of the rapidly falling infections.
Experts said they believed ministers had been "cautious" in applying stages because of an expected increase over Christmas, but that many areas would likely move to the second stage after the holiday season ends.
It comes after Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick suggested this morning that local authorities move to Tier 2 before Christmas, provided their case rates fell to low levels. And Boris Johnson today admitted that the brutal new levels are "frustrating" for areas with low infection – but refused to change course, insisting that the rules must be kept "simple".
And with the second wave of coronavirus already peaking, Cambridge University scientists have revamped their model behind the dire estimate of 4,000 deaths per day that led ministers to impose a second national lockdown in the first place cases across England have declined last month.
The Prime Minister said he shared the frustrations of those at the highest levels
The notes on Christmas relaxation in action were released today by the Ministry of Health but are dated November 18.
The government is considering adding a 25-day lock-up period after Christmas, with five-day restrictions on each day of relaxation to counter any further surge.
A senior government source said this was "not an exact number" and the five-day restrictions would only be needed if the reproduction rate, or R – the number of people an infected person passes the virus on – increases to two.
"If R increased to 1.5, it would be about two to three days of restrictive measures to reverse it," they said.
& # 39; For comparison, it is assumed that R is national one. Christmas is going to be a spreading event. & # 39;
In the SPI-M document, the scientists also advised against leaving vulnerable people to do housework over Christmas.
They said, "Measures to keep prevalence low before Christmas will reduce transmission during the relaxation period."
In its recommendations, the SPI-M-O said that the families in which the environment gathers will be of vital importance.
"With so many people at home, it is important that 'more vulnerable people don't have a house to clean'.
In the meantime, Public Health England released a graph today showing how levels have been distributed for different local authorities in England.
It shows that although most of the north of England and the Midlands is on the third tier – with restaurants only being forced to take away – many areas are well on their way to easing restrictions and moving into the coveted first tier to enter.
Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire are about to enter the second stage due to falling infection rates.
And South Yorkshire, Lancashire and Derbyshire have also seen rapid declines that could benefit them for the weeks ahead.
The report said: “This graph shows some decreases in weekly case rates in the north of England and other areas where case rates are high but falling.
"Continuous improvement in the coming period could turn these areas into candidates for de-escalation in the New Year."
SAGE announced today that the R-Rate has fallen for the third straight week and is now below one for the whole of the UK for the first time in three months.
A dispute erupted last night over the government's decision on the classification as MPs and members of the public in Tier 3 areas were outraged.
They covered the entire Kent region, which was switched from Tier 1 to Tier 3 prior to the lockdown in order to respond to the increasing local infections.
Ashford MP, Damian Green, warned he was "very concerned" about the dramatic downgrade yesterday and said ministers should publish detailed analysis of how their decision was made.
But Boris Johnson today refused to bow to pressure from 70 of his own MPs to change course, despite admitting they were "frustrating" for people in areas with low transmission rates.
At the laboratory site in Porton Down, the Prime Minister expressed the prospect that some areas could have their status downgraded within a few weeks.
Mr Johnson said, “I know it is frustrating for people to be in a high level area when there are very few cases in their village or area. I completely understand why people are frustrated. & # 39;
He added, "There really is a prospect that areas … are able to move down."
Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease expert at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline today that he believes the government has been "cautious" in applying the levels due to an expected surge in infections before Christmas.
But he said that after the festive season, many areas could be moved down the levels.
The Department of Health today announced the new lockdown levels England will be split into if the national lockdown ends December 2nd
WHAT THE SAGE PAPERS ALSO SHOWED
Only HALF infected people would be identified if the UK were to enforce a nationwide mass testing program
A SAGE article produced by a subgroup called SPI-M-O examined the effects of mass testing on combating the coronavirus pandemic.
The goal of a comprehensive survey of an entire population is not to lower the R-rate, but rather to lower the overall prevalence.
However, the theory of identifying every single infected person by testing them all does not apply to the real world.
For example, the tests are not 100 percent accurate, not everyone is tested willingly, and of those that prove positive, not all will self-isolate to break the chain of transmission.
SAGE experts write: “If the entire population were offered a single test with a sensitivity of 70 percent, 80 percent of those infected would accept the offer and 90 percent of those who tested positive would be completely isolated, about 50 percent of those infected would not be isolated. & # 39;
The experts say that a slightly more targeted approach to mass testing would be more effective.
They say more frequent testing of people at higher risk of infection (such as key workers, health, and people in high prevalence areas) are likely to have a greater impact than infrequent testing of all people.
Young people should wait until AFTER Christmas to socialize
SAGE scientists warn that compliance with coronavirus restrictions will be of vital importance if restrictions are eased on December 23.
Household bubbles, such as those Boris Johnson allowed during the Christmas season, can limit the spread of diseases better than the "rule of six," they say.
"People from two households probably allow fewer connections than 6 people from 6 different households," the experts write in their paper.
And they warn people who insist on socializing outside of their bubbles after seeing older relatives, not beforehand.
The timing of the events is crucial for the protection of vulnerable people.
Young people who want to visit older family members during the festive season should also limit their social contact in the weeks leading up to Christmas in early December.
The researchers say that if young people go out before Christmas instead of the New Year, it will lead to a short-term increase in mortality.
Cancellation restrictions for Christmas could lead people to disregard them on birthdays and anniversaries
The coronavirus-restricted amnesty over Christmas could undermine the animal system if they return on December 27, warns SAGE.
Government advisors write in their paper that if they show that the restrictions can be lifted, members of the public could feel they could disregard them for their own celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries.
Experts are concerned that people will believe that celebrating a birthday is just as important to them as Christmas. If the restrictions were lifted for the entire nation for five days, it would be okay to ignore them for your own celebrations.
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