The BMA says the Government’s plans to relax the rules on the current Tiers and allow up to three households to mix over the Christmas holiday period must be reviewed on the basis of evidence that the virus remains out of control. The BMA's chair of council, Dr Chaand Nagpaul said:
“Everyone wants to be able to share this time with family and friends but we are not heading for a normal Christmas. We are facing a Christmas with Covid infection rates still very high and evidence that the most recent lockdown managed only to stabilise infection rates, which have since risen significantly.
“Whilst we understand that many families will naturally want to spend time together, we know that no one will want to put a family member or friend at risk from contracting the virus – that would be a terrible Christmas present and so we would urge everyone to do all they can to avoid this.
“We welcome today’s contribution from the BMJ and we agree that the impact on the NHS of the almost inevitable third wave of the infection in the New Year, will be disastrous. The health service and its staff are already being stretched to the limit as they care for those with Covid as well as trying to treat the tens of thousands of patients who have been waiting months for surgery. Add to this the usual winter pressures and the fact we have less beds than this time last year and we have a recipe for catastrophe.
“As well as reviewing the rules for Christmas, the Government must also look at what happens when the tinsel is tidied away. We have seen that rapid relaxation of infection control policies, inadequate monitoring, and encouragement to socially mix in restaurants and bars, and to return to work don’t work. We need to see better adherence to the rules within each Tier and more effective monitoring of the measures to reduce infection rates and keep the virus at bay. Now is the time to for everyone to continue to follow the rules and guidance until the vaccine can be rolled out to protect many more of us and allow us to mix freely once more.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.