Family Christmases will only come if we reduce Covid infections in next 4-6 weeks, warns top professor

BRITS will only be able to enjoy a family Christmas if coronavirus infections are reduced, a top professor has warned.

Professor Steven Riley said actions taken over the next four to six weeks will determine what restrictions are needed over the festive period.

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Under current lockdown rules, people in England would be able to celebrate Christmas at home with members of their own household.

Large family gatherings, however, face the scrap under the Rule of Six.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain today, the professor of infectious disease dynamics was asked whether restrictions could be eased over Christmas.

Prof Riley said: "If we figure out a way to get the number of infections to come down between now and Christmas and we understand how that works and what we can do to achieve that, then we have the option of perhaps reducing the strength of interventions over Christmas.

"But right now, we don’t for sure have a way of knowing whether infections are going to come down.

"So I think it’s more important what we do in the next four to six weeks to potentially give us options at Christmas.”


His comments came after he and other Scientists from the Imperial College London warned the epidemic is at a "critical stage" with stronger measures necessary to bring the outbreak under control.

Their REACT-1 study revealed cases are now doubling every nine days nationwide, with 96,000 new cases every day.

And their data taken from more than 85,000 swab tests between October 16 and 25 showed England's coronavirus R rate has now risen above 2 in the South.

Whether via regional or national measures, it is now time-critical to control the virus and turn R below one if yet more hospital admissions and deaths from Covid-19 are to be avoided.

The crucial value – the number of people an infected person will pass Covid-19 on to – is estimated to be 1.6 nationally.

Of the findings, Prof Steven Riley said: "Our results suggest strongly that one or more of the policies themselves, the timing of tier advancement, or levels of compliance, have not been sufficient to date to achieve control of the second wave of Covid-19 in England.

"The co-occurrence of high prevalence and rapid growth means that the second wave of the epidemic in England has now reached a critical stage.

"Whether via regional or national measures, it is now time-critical to control the virus and turn R below one if yet more hospital admissions and deaths from Covid-19 are to be avoided."


It comes after cops warned yesterday they will go into Brits' homes and break up Christmas family gatherings if they break lockdown rules.

David Jamieson, the West Midlands police and crime commissioner (PCC), said officers will investigate reports of rule-breaking over the festive season.

And Merseyside Chief Constable Andy Cooke sparked further fears by telling people they have a "civic duty" to report neighbours who break lockdown rules.

He said: "People are doing a civic duty in contacting us for the right reasons.

"The vast majority of people across the country are really concerned about this.

"Any information that you can give us in relation to breaches will save lives, and that's why people are doing it."

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