Hopes of a normal Christmas have been dashed after government scientists warned that all of England should be under Tier 3 lockdown by mid-December.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has predicted that Covid-19 cases across the country will soon have “succeeded the levels in areas already in the highest category” of restrictions, the Daily Mirror reports.
A government source told the paper the latest Sage numbers are “utterly bleak” and suggest that 25,000 people could be hospitalised by the end of November, a higher figure than during the pandemic’s first peak.
With the likelihood of tight nationwide restrictions over the festive period rising, police chiefs have warned that family celebrations will be broken up if they flout lockdown rules.
David Jamieson, the West Midlands police and crime commissioner, told The Telegraph that while it is “not the police’s job to stop people enjoying their Christmas”, the force will “enforce the rules that the government makes”.
Professor Neil Ferguson, the ex-government adviser and vice-dean of Imperial College London’s Faculty of Medicine, has said that lifting restrictions for two days over Christmas would only have a “limited impact” infections.
Ferguson, who led the strategy behind the April lockdown, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If it is only one or two days the impact is likely to be limited. So that is really a political judgment about the cost versus the benefits.”
Last week, a No. 10 spokesperson said Johnson “is hopeful in many ways we could be able to get some aspects of our lives back to normal by Christmas”.