Normal Christmas would "throw fuel in the fire" and trigger a spike in Covid-19 cases, says the scientist

A near-normal Christmas would only "throw fuel on the fire" and put older generations in danger, warned a top scientist, as ministers admit they "don't want to grin" and Number 10 says families can meet inside for five days, but the country is then faced with a 25-day embargo to pay for it.

Professor Andrew Hayward, a SAGE member and infectious disease expert at University College London, warned that up to four households could mix between December 24-28, stating that it was a "significant" risk for the spread of the virus on the elderly, in whom the infection rate increases, are "much lower".

"My personal opinion is that we care too much about having an almost normal Christmas," he said. "We know respiratory infections peak in January, so throwing fuel on the fire over Christmas can only help."

Professor Gabriel Scally, public health expert at the University of Bristol, warned in addition to the protests against the planned festive lifting of the restrictions, warning that it was "pointless to have a Merry Christmas and then bury friends and relatives in January and February" .

"We have to look very seriously about Christmas and how we're going to spend it," he said. "It is too dangerous a time and an opportunity for the virus to spread."

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said today he does not want to be the "Grinch who stole Christmas" but added that the government also aims to "save lives". He said: "On December 2nd, decisions will be made that we will try to restore that balance, but ultimately we will try to make sure we protect our NHS and protect lives."

The Prime Minister also said it was his "desire to allow loved ones to celebrate Christmas together" after a turbulent year in which families were kept apart for months.

The warning comes as Oxford University reveals that its Covid-19 vaccine creates a "robust" immune system response and appears to work in the elderly, based on results from phase two studies.

This is yet another breakthrough in the vaccine development race after Moderna and Pfizer and BioNTech's last week's bursts were found to be 95 percent effective.

The NHS could start distributing the vital shocks to healthcare workers and the elderly as early as December. More shots are expected to be fired at larger sections of the population in the New Year.

The UK recorded 19,609 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, down 2.2 percent from the 20,051 announced on Tuesday and 14.6 percent down from the 22,950 last Wednesday. There were also 529 deaths, 11.5 percent fewer than the 598 on Tuesday and 11.1 percent fewer than the 595 a week ago.

Professor Andrew Hayward, an infectious disease expert at University College London, said mixing at Christmas was a "significant" risk for the elderly

Professor Andrew Hayward, an infectious disease expert at University College London, cautioned against loosening the rules over Christmas, saying mixing at Christmas was a "significant" risk for the elderly. And Professor Gabriel Scally, a public health expert at the University of Bristol, said there was no point in celebrating Christmas in order to "bury" family and relatives for the next year


Oxford University's coronavirus vaccine creates a "robust" immune system response and appears to work in the elderly. That was the result of a study that today marks another step towards ending the pandemic.

Scientists behind the project this morning released the results of an early attempt on the sting that found 99 percent of people showed strong signs of immunity.

The second phase study enrolled 560 people, most of whom were White and British, and showed that people of all ages appeared to respond equally well to the bump. It complements data released in July suggesting it would work safely for children under the age of 55. Studies in people with serious health problems and other ethnic groups are ongoing.

It's another breakthrough in the race to develop a vaccine to prevent Covid-19 after it was found that the shocks carried out by Moderna and Pfizer and BioNTech last week were around 95 percent effective.

Oxford's results are from an earlier stage of testing and therefore cannot estimate how well the vaccine protects against Covid, but are still a positive step. Detailed results on how well it works are expected within weeks, the university said.

Research showed that people of all ages developed antibodies – virus-destroying substances of the immune system – within 28 days of their first vaccine dose, which were further increased after the second dose.

It was found that the vaccine caused more side effects than a false prick, but that they were "mild" and more common in young people than in older participants.

Within the first week after the injection, more than eight in ten under 55-year-olds said that their arm was injured and that they later experienced tiredness, muscle pain or headache.

The UK has pre-ordered 100 million doses of Oxford's Jab made with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. So if it works and can be made fast enough it could be used to protect the majority of the UK population.

Scientists today described the news as "promising" and "positive", adding that the British order could be big enough to achieve herd immunity if the vaccine comes out well. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in a tweet: "There is still a lot to be done, but this is a really encouraging set of findings."

In other coronavirus developments:

  • Conservative MPs are pressuring the government not to prolong England's lockdown, saying: “Freedom is not just for Christmas;
  • China says a Covid-19 study removed the blame for the pandemic by finding the virus was circulating in Italy last September.
  • Families of Royal Marines veterans, 89, and retired registrars, 88, killed by Covid-19, are suing the government that the speedy discharge of elderly patients from hospital caused fatal outbreaks;
  • Jaguar Land Rover orders employees to turn off the NHS Covid-19 app at work so that they don't have to "unnecessarily" isolate themselves.
  • It turns out that SAGE used data from Wikipedia to model the spring Covid-19 outbreak and didn't have a single Covid-19 expert in its ranks.
  • According to a Danish study, face masks do NOT protect the wearer from Covid-19, but rather prevent them from infecting other people.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today program, Professor Hayward said it was "tragic" to miss the opportunity to protect those we love through vaccination and the profits made during the lockdown by "trying to get over." return the holidays to normal ".

When asked if the festive freedom would amount to weeks of tighter restrictions on the British, he said, “Well, I'm not a math model builder, but that's the process that goes through.

“You look at the contact rates in society and determine how many infections would lead to it and how many fewer contacts you would have during the lockdown in order to achieve a normal Christmas party.

“I think there is a cost, but when the policy is between staying home to save lives, eating out to help the animal system, the second lockdown and now proposals for an amnesty to social distancing is there this is a highly inconsistent message.

“While the things people have to do to stay safe and protect their loved ones are relatively simple.

"Whenever possible, avoid closed indoor contact with people outside your household, avoid crowded places, and protect the most vulnerable by not putting them unnecessarily at risk."

However, he suggested a glimmer of hope for a relaxation of the rules over Christmas, saying the "economy" also needs to be considered by policymakers.

“To a large extent I think it's a very difficult balance.

“We have to be very aware of the fact that this last period of the year is absolutely critical economically for many companies. I think we have to find a way how they can work, but in a responsible way that is very socially distant. & # 39;

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace signaled on ITV's Good Morning Britain today that the government was not trying to steal Christmas, but also wanted to protect people's lives.

He said, "I don't want to be the Grinch who stole Christmas – I'm not campaigning for it."

"I would love if we could all have Christmas, but most of all I want us to get through this Covid and try to get this country back to normal and I want to save lives."

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said today he does not want to be the "Grinch who stole Christmas" but the government continued to focus on "protecting" people's lives from the virus

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said today he does not want to be the "Grinch who stole Christmas" but the government continued to focus on "protecting" people's lives from the virus

A health chief has warned England that for just five days of festive freedom, there could be 25 days of additional restrictions, during which the British could throw off their shackles and gather around the house for celebrations.

According to the plans that are being examined by the ministers, it is also expected that the churches will be allowed to hold services on Christmas Day. The Church of England says that "the message of the light that shines in the dark" is badly needed.

Speaking at a press conference on Downing Street Wednesday, top Public Health England doctor Susan Hopkins said she thought it was possible – although she warned that five days of tighter restrictions would be required for every day measures are relaxed to undo the damage.

But one Tory MP warned it would be better for the Prime Minister to cancel Christmas and be branded a "Grinch" instead of risking a surge in deaths from Covid-19 that could refer to him as the "Grim Reaper". They said, “He's being held responsible (an increase in deaths). It's always mid to late January when you get the NHS winter crisis. & # 39;


China has claimed that a study that found traces of coronavirus in Italy last September cleared the blame for starting the pandemic.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, said the study shows the source of the virus is a "complex issue" that "could involve multiple countries".

However, Lijian's conclusion was dismissed by the study's lead scientist Giovanni Apolone, who said his research did not rule out China.

"We know China has delayed announcing its outbreak, so there's no telling when it started there," he said. This suggests that the virus may have been tacitly spread longer in China than previously thought before it was brought to northern Italy.

"China has very strong trade ties with northern Italy," he told the Times.

This is not the first time Lijian has tried to blame other countries for starting the pandemic, which infected more than 55 million people and killed 1.3 million people.

He previously suggested – with no evidence – that US forces brought the virus to China and that it may have been imported on food packaging.

Apolone's study, conducted at the National Cancer Institute in Milan, looked at blood samples from patients involved in a cancer study.

A team of researchers examined the samples for antibodies that arise when a patient comes into contact with the coronavirus.

To their surprise, they found antibodies in samples from 14 percent of participants from September 2019.

At a briefing on Downing Street, PHE's top paramedic Dr. Hopkins yesterday: “We are very interested in having a Christmas that is as normal as possible. This will require that we all make every effort during this national embargo and even early December to keep cases as low as possible and to reduce the risk of intra-household and inter-family transmission.

"A final decision will, of course, be made by the government, and we look forward to hearing what those plans are."

Assistant Scientific Advisor Dame Angela McLean said SAGE was also investigating the possible easing of measures over Christmas. Speaking to the conference on Wednesday, she said, “We sent some advice over the weekend. But we really don't know what decisions were made. & # 39;

The intent in number 10 is clearly to celebrate Christmas as normally as possible, with Mr Johnson's official spokesman explaining the briefing: “I think the Prime Minister has clearly expressed his desire to allow families to celebrate Christmas together. We accept that it will not be a normal Christmas, but as I said earlier, the Prime Minister made it clear that he would like families to see each other.

“I think the point I want to make is that we are now taking tighter measures to reduce the level of transmission, the number of patients being hospitalized and ultimately those who end up in intensive care and unfortunately die .

"We are now taking these tougher measures so that, as I said, the Prime Minister has made clear his intention to allow families to spend Christmas together."

Dr. Stressing the importance of clearing infections before Christmas to ease restrictions, Hopkins said the British should be "very careful" with the number of their contacts in order to reduce transmission before the festive season to "our cases as "get low as possible".

When asked what Christmas might be like, she said of the government data, “This is a decision that is being made by the government and I know they are working hard to come up with an overview of what it will be like and how the new layers will look like after December 2nd and what Christmas will look like. & # 39;

She added, "Hopefully the government will make the decision that will allow us to mix something up, but we will wait and see what it is.

"And then I think when we have the Christmas season behind us, we all have to be very responsible and reduce these contacts again if there is a publication and a certain socialization."

A source told the Daily Telegraph yesterday that two proposals are being discussed for the festive season – extending the Six Rules over Christmas or allowing households to mingle.

The proposals could result in the UK celebrating a more normal Christmas season before restrictions come back into effect

The proposals could result in the UK celebrating a more normal Christmas season before restrictions come back into effect

The source said it was "more likely" that the government would decide to allow multiple households to come together "for fear of people being left out".

It added: “There is great hope that there can be a British approach as it recognizes that people in all four corners of Britain have families.

"It is important to give people hope even after a very difficult year for everyone."

It is likely that the total number of unconfirmed households is at least three to include both groups of grandparents.

Graphs released at the government press conference on Wednesday showed hospital admissions for Covid-19 have declined in the Northwest, Northeast and Midlands. This is another promising sign that the three-tier approach has been able to contain the spread of the virus – especially animal – Three.

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