Boris Johnson’s plan to relax the UK coronavirus lockdown over the Christmas period is like “throwing fuel over the COVID fire” and will lead to a third wave of coronavirus deaths, according to a scientist advising the prime minister.
The UK government on Tuesday announced that it had agreed with the devolved administrations to let up to three households mix in homes and outdoor public places over a five-day period this Christmas.
Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said “we have listened to scientific and clinical advice on how best to minimise the risk and reach a balanced and workable set of rules that we hope will allow people to spend time together at this important time of year.”
However, Professor Andrew Hayward, who sits on the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, on Tuesday told BBC Newsnight that the plan would trigger a further wave of the coronavirus across the UK, and was akin to “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.”
He said: “I think what the government has done is really give a green light for families to get together over Christmas and effectively what this will be doing is throwing fuel over the Covid fire.
“I think it will definitely lead to increased transmission.
“It’s likely to lead to a third wave of infections, hospitals being overrun, and more unnecessary deaths.
Hayward added: “COVID is a disease that thrives on social contact, especially the sort of close-proximity, long-duration contact that you have in relaxed circumstances in a household. It’s a virus that’s dangerous to older people.
“We are still in a country where we have got high levels of infection of COVID, particularly in young people. Bringing them together for hours let alone days with elderly relatives I think is a recipe for regret.”
“My personal choice would be to wait safely. There’s a vaccine coming. I will get together with my family when they have been vaccinated and we can have a proper get together for Easter and many, many Christmases to come.