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RCN calls for clearer warning of COVID-19 risks at Christmas

Easing of lockdown rules could trigger ‘unrelenting tsunami’ of infections in January, college says
Picture shows a young couple and child offering gifts to an older woman

Easing of lockdown rules could trigger ‘unrelenting tsunami’ of infections in January, college says

Relaxing COVID-19 restrictions over Christmas could lead to an ‘unrelenting tsunami’ of cases, the RCN has warned.

RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said nurses would not enjoy Christmas knowing what awaits them in January, and urged the government to be ‘clearer about the risks – not just the rules’ .

Call for ministers to give fresh and more detailed advice to the public

UK-wide rules mean up to three households can mix between 23 and 27 December in a

Easing of lockdown rules could trigger ‘unrelenting tsunami’ of infections in January, college says

Picture shows a young couple and child offering gifts to an older woman
Picture: iStock

Relaxing COVID-19 restrictions over Christmas could lead to an ‘unrelenting tsunami’ of cases, the RCN has warned.

RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said nurses would not enjoy Christmas knowing what awaits them in January, and urged the government to be ‘clearer about the risks – not just the rules’.

Call for ministers to give fresh and more detailed advice to the public

UK-wide rules mean up to three households can mix between 23 and 27 December in a ‘Christmas bubble’, while travel to and from Northern Ireland is also permitted between 22 and 28 December.

But travelling and family visits will lead to more cases, more pressure on the NHS and care services, and more deaths, Professor Kinnair warned.

Picture of Dame Donna Kinnair
Dame Donna Kinnair
Picture: Justine Desmond

‘By turning the second and third waves into an unrelenting tsunami, we would begin 2021 in the worst possible way,’ she said. She called for ministers to give fresh and more detailed advice to the public.

Referring to nursing staff, Professor Kinnair added: ‘After caring for tens of thousands of positive cases, supporting families at their lowest ebb and even losing our own colleagues, a quieter festive period is not a sacrifice.’

‘Nothing ruled out’ in England after Christmas

Devolved nations look braced for stricter measures in the immediate aftermath of the relaxation of the rules at Christmas.

Northern Ireland has announced a six-week lockdown to start on Boxing Day, following Wales’ lead to pre-empt the threat to health services, while ministers in Scotland have also refused to rule out tougher curbs.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said nothing would be ruled out when asked about the possibility of a national lockdown in England after Christmas.

He told the BBC Breakfast programme on 18 December: ‘We think the tier system is a very effective way, of course, (but) you know, we rule nothing out. This government is absolutely determined to tackle this virus.’


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