Scientific advisers to the government have warned that the spread of the Coronavirus in the United Kingdom may double over Christmas if there is “significant mixing” of people.
The Emergency Scientific Advisory Group (SAGE) said that any relaxation in Covid-19 Restrictions on the holiday period “will lead to an increase in transmission and an increase in spread, most likely to a large extent.”
The warning comes in a document called “Notes on the Holiday Period” that was first published on Friday.
“A comparison can be made, albeit on a different scale, between the return of students in the fall and the intense mixing of people from different families during Christmas,” the paper says.
SAGE says that “substantial contact between people over a short period of time, especially those who do not have regular contact within a month, pose a significant risk of widespread transmission.”
He adds: “The spread could easily double within a few days of the holiday season, with a further increase in the number of new infections returning to their” routine “networks.
The latest figures show that one in 85 people in England contracted the Coronavirus in the week through 21 November.
Coronavirus rules will be relaxed during the holiday season across the UK while allowing people to celebrate in “Christmas bubbles” of three families with their families.
Between December 23 and 27, people will be able to meet with two other families to form a Christmas bubble – but only in a private home, place of worship, or outdoor public spaces.
SAGE says in its document that “household bubbles may be better than restricting communications to a specific number,” but adds that “loyalty to bubbles is crucial.”
The scholars advised that “families should be encouraged to gather in places where the least number of people share in the bedrooms, and there are more bathrooms.”
They also say that “the division of labor to clean the bathrooms” is “potentially important,” and that no more people at risk should be left home to clean.
Earlier, Cabinet Secretary Robert Jenric told Sky News that easing restrictions over Christmas would likely “lead to a higher rate of infection”.
A system of three levels of restrictions will be introduced after the end of England’s second national lockdown on Wednesday.
Some 99% of the population of England It would fall under the two toughest levels but Mr Jenric said some parts of England could be relaxed before Christmas.