The UK government’s chief scientific adviser has not ruled out a “digital Christmas” in England due to social restrictions that “will need to be in place for a while”.
Patrick Vallance told a Downing Street press conference that the prospect of families spending Christmas together depended on whether coronavirus cases could be driven down over the coming weeks.
Tier 2 and 3 restrictions would ban families from different households or support bubbles from mixing indoors on Christmas Day, while people living in Tier 1 areas would not be able to meet in groups of more than six people from outside their household.
It comes as residents in Scotland have been urged to prepare for a “digital Christmas”, after a senior medical advisor to Nicola Sturgeon warned that large family gatherings would be “fiction” this year.
When asked whether the outlook was the same for festivities in England, Mr Vallance said that the Covid-19 case numbers “speak for themselves”.
Coronavirus cases are rising sharply in England, particularly in the North East and North West, putting pressure on hospital resources.