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) said that relaxing 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."
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 have been approved despite the fact that independent experts and scholars have pushed the government back hard, warning that January is already the toughest time of the year for the NHS.
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
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 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;
The Prime Minister said he shared the frustrations of those at the highest levels
Public Health England today released a graph showing how levels have been assigned for various 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
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