A British government minister has said that it is “too early to say” whether or not the British people will be able to celebrate Christmas together, citing the continued spread of the Chinese coronavirus in the country.
During an interview with Sky News on Wednesday, Britain’s Environment Secretary George Eustice said that they are unclear what level of lockdown measures will be in place during the festive period.
“The Prime Minister has been very clear, as we all are, that we want people to celebrate Christmas in a way that is as close to normal as possible,” Eustice said about Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“But it is too early to be able to say exactly what the situation will be, come Christmas, and exactly what different parts of the country will or will not be able to do,” he added.
Eustice said that they consider managing the spread of the virus as “paramount” but said that they also want people to live their lives “as close to normal as possible, including at Christmas which is an incredibly important time for families.”
It comes as the United Kingdom, which consists of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, currently has each country in the union handling the virus differently. In England, regions are broken up into Tier 1, 2, and 3 – where 3 is the strictest. At the highest Tier in England, pubs are not allowed to open unless they serve “substantial meals” and people are advised not to leave their region unless for essential travel.
In Wales, the entire country is currently under lockdown, and in Scotland, separate measures are being implemented by nationalist leader Nicola Sturgeon.
Boris Johnson, the Conservative Prime Minister who was initially wary of shutting down the country, appears to be bowing to the demands of his Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, who is reportedly the architect of strict lockdown measures in the country.
According to The Sun, a British tabloid newspaper, the UK government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said that the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, and as a result, has recommended that the entirety of England be forced under Tier 3 lockdown rules.
Why is Europe still relying so heavily on lockdowns even after the World Health Organization advised against them?