The British government came under intense pressure on Tuesday to revise its plan to relax COVID-19 restrictions for five days around Christmas, with two influential medical journals making a rare joint appeal for the policy to be scrapped.
“I understand that people want to spend time with their families after this awful year, but the situation has clearly taken a turn for the worse since the decision about Christmas was taken. It serves no one for politicians to ignore this fact,” Starmer said.
The mayor of London, Labour’s Sadiq Khan, also said the government should look again at its Christmas plans.
So far, it has deflected such calls by stressing the need for citizens to act responsibly.
“We must all ensure that we are careful and responsible over the Christmas period,” Johnson’s spokesman said.
“We’ve always said that Christmas this year will not be normal but we wanted to ensure that families and friends have the option to meet up in a limited and cautious way should they wish.”
In their joint editorial, the two journals said that unless there was a change of policy the National Health Service (NHS) would face a stark choice after Christmas: stop most elective and non-urgent work or become overwhelmed by COVID patients.
“The main impact of a further surge in COVID-19 inpatients is likely to be felt most by those with other conditions,” the editorial said.