Britons warned not to hug elderly relatives ‘if you want them to survive’ over Christmas

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The medical expert said he “would not” encourage people to “hug and kiss their elderly relatives” over Christmas even though it will not technically be against the law. Starkly, he advised against doing so “if you want them to survive to be hugged again”.

Professor Whitty’s comments came amid Downing Street’s latest coronavirus press briefing, headed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday.

In it, Mr Johnson said the country has a “reason to hope” that the winter restrictions will end by spring due to a combination of community testing and vaccination for COVID-19.

However, he warned there would be a “hard winter ahead” in which COVID-19 is given the advantage of cold weather and the NHS is alread heavily relied upon.

The Prime Minister has already set out his coronavirus winter plan and explained what the restrictions will be over Christmas.

Between December 23 and December 27, households will be able to form a ‘Christmas bubble’ with two other households, meaning they can mix indoors in private residences and stay overnight.

Despite this, Professor Whitty advised yesterday that relatives should still not hug and kiss one another.

READ: ‘Tough times ahead’ business bosses call for Rishi Sunak ‘to put plans into action’

Professor Whitty added he would be spending Christmas treating patients in hospital.

Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific adviser, agreed, adding that hugging elderly relatives would “increase the spread to a vulnerable population”.

According to the UK’s official figures, 17,555 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded on November 26, bringing the country’s total to 1,574,562.

The total over the past seven days is 121,306 – a decrease of -25.6 percent from the previous seven days from November 13 to November 19.

Although medical officials have advised against hugging over Christmas, the Government said in its winter plan that visitors to care homes may be able to hug loved ones who live there as long as they test negative for Covid-19 beforehand and wear protective equipment.

The advice states: “If a visitor has a negative test, is wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and follows other infection control measures, then it will be possible for visitors to have physical contact with their loved one, such as providing personal care, holding hands and hugging.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson yesterday highlighted how other some other countries in Europe are dealing with the pandemic at the moment.

He said Italy currently enforces a nightly curfew and that hospitality venues are closed until December 20 in Germany and January 20 in France.



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