Professor Chris Whitty has warned those enjoying Christmas not to hug their elderly relatives as ‘they want to survive to get hugged again’.
Asked the Mirror’s Ben Glaze about the relaxation of the Covid measures over the festive period Professor Whitty said: “Would I say people should hug and kiss their elderly relatives, no I would not.”
He added: “They want to survive to get hugged again.”
All four UK nations have agreed to relax their coronavirus measures for five days over Christmas to allow three households to ‘bubble’ together.
Christmas has been afforded special treatment despite other religious holidays not receiving the same treatment.
Professor Whitty said: “Would I want someone to see their family? Of course, that’s what Christmas is about, whether people celebrate Christmas as a festival themselves or from any other belief system.
“It is an opportunity for families.
“But would I encourage someone to hug and kiss their elderly relatives? No, I would not.
“It is not against the law – and that’s the whole point. You can do it in the rules that are there but it does not make sense because you could be carrying the virus and if you’ve got an elderly relative, that would not be the thing you want to do in the period where we’re running up to a point where we might be able to protect older people.
“I think people just have to have sense and this is very much what I think people will do.”
At the same Downing Street press briefing Sir Patrick Vallance has warned that a coronavirus vaccination programme cannot be rolled out overnight.
“It is not going to be an overnight thing,” he told a No 10 news conference.
“We are not talking about suddenly getting this (disease) switched off any time soon.
“This is going to take months into spring before we start to get significant vaccination to create protection.”
He added: “If you take the brakes off now this will get up and run away and we will be back in a situation of growth.”