Published On: Fri, Nov 27th, 2020

Don’t hug grandma this Christmas: UK public health chief’s grim Covid advice as Britain readies for festive season

The UK is heading for a bleak winter as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief scientific adviser on Thursday warned Britons not to hug and kiss their elderly relatives at Christmas, in a bid to protect them from Covid-19.

“Would I encourage someone to hug and kiss their elderly relatives? No I would not,” Professor Chris Whitty said, during a Downing Street coronavirus briefing and days after the PM had outlined softened restrictions for the festive period.

He stressed that, while hugging grandparents is technically not “against the law,” it’s far from advisable amid the ongoing pandemic, as younger people may be carrying the virus and could transmit it to their more vulnerable family members.

If you’ve got an elderly relative, that would not be the thing you would want to do in a period where we’re running up to a point where, actually, we might be able to protect older people.

The chief medic’s stark warning comes shortly after UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock outlined the UK’s newly updated three-tier system of coronavirus restrictions, to guide England’s regions through the pandemic during winter.

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Under the relaxed travel restrictions, Britons will now also be able to travel to any part of the UK during the festive period from December 23 to 27, and households will be allowed to mix at home, in places of worship and in some outdoor areas.

On Thursday, the UK reported 17,555 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the previous 24 hours, as well as another 498 deaths of people who had tested positive in the previous 28 days. 

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