PM ‘hopeful’ Christmas won’t be cancelled as coronavirus restrictions tightened
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is "hopeful" that "some aspects of our lives" will be back to normal by Christmas following the country's lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier in the day, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told LBC radio the new government rules are "so important" and added, he "hopes" the new rules, which ban all indoor and outdoor gatherings of more than six people, will mean Christmas 2020 isn’t cancelled.
The country's Prime Minister has now echoed those words during a briefing from Downing Street in which he announced the UK "must act" as he unveiled "simplified" social distancing rules centred around "the rule of six" in a bid to prevent a second wave.
Speaking from Downing Street on Wednesday September 9, Boris Johnson said: "I'm still hopeful that we could be able to get some aspects of our lives back to normal by Christmas."
But Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty declined to say exactly how long the new ban on gatherings will last.
He said "it’s very unlikely to be over in just two or three weeks."
Prof Whitty told the Downing Street press conference: "The period between now and spring is going to be difficult because this is a respiratory virus."
The PM said it "breaks my heart" as he laid down the new measures, which he admitted will mean two family bubbles which total more than six people will no longer be able to all meet together.
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He added: "I’m sorry about that and I wish we did not have to take this step. But as your Prime Minister I must do what is necessary to stop the spread of the virus and to save lives."
During the briefing, the Prime Minister also unveiled plans to recruit "Covid-19 Secure Marshals" to enforce social distancing measures in towns and cities.
Matt Hancock had said earlier in the day that "every single person in the country" needs to work together to "get a grip" on Covid-19.
When asked if the new rules would mean that Christmas is cancelled, Mr Hancock told LBC: "I hope not but we clearly need to act.
"This is a really simple rule which says you cannot socialise with more than six people.
"We want to set out very clearly for everybody – so that everybody has the chance to see these rules, read them and then to follow them, and that's why it will come into force on Monday."
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- Boris Johnson
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