The ultimate gift this Christmas: Protect your loved ones

Posted on Monday 21st December 2020

Blackpool’s Director of Public Health has appealed to families to do the right thing and protect their loved ones this Christmas.

Dr Arif Rajpura urged people to keep themselves and their families safe as household mixing rules are temporarily relaxed on Christmas Day.

He said that after months of coronavirus restrictions it was inevitable that limiting what was intended to be a five-day “Christmas bubble” to just one day, would be frustrating for many families who had been looking forward to spending time together.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Saturday, people living in Tiers 1, 2 and 3 (which includes Blackpool) can form an exclusive Christmas bubble comprising people from no more than three households on Christmas Day.

The revised Government advice is as follows:

  • Keep your Christmas bubble as small as possible. Mixing with two other households on Christmas Day is a maximum, not a target

  • Do not join a Christmas bubble with anyone from a Tier 4 area

  • Only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces

  • Only see your bubble on Christmas Day. Do not stay overnight and keep your visits as short as possible

  • Stay local where possible. Avoid travelling from a high prevalence to a low prevalence area

  • Only meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier you live in (unless coming from a lower to a higher tier) and do not meet socially with friends and family that you do not live with in your home or garden unless they are part of your Christmas bubble

Dr Rajpura said that the Prime Minister’s weekend announcement had, inevitably, disappointed many families who had planned to meet up over the festive period, but he urged people not to let that disappointment cloud their judgment.

He said:“It is understandable that after such a difficult year in which families have been unable to see each other for long periods that people were desperate to spend as much time with friends and relatives as they were able. Sadly, that ambition has had to be curtailed at very short notice to help prevent the continued spread of the virus.

“The reality is that the more people we come into contact with the greater the risk of infection. Therefore the best present that anyone can give to their loved ones this year is not to put them at unnecessary risk and that is particularly the case with the elderly and most vulnerable.

“That means sticking by the three household rule on Christmas Day and definitely not throwing caution to the wind over the rest of the festive and New Year break.

“I would also urge that we don’t stop taking the precautions to which we have all become accustomed. If anything, we should be taking an even more cautious approach so we don’t go into a new year with increasing infection rates and the threat of more lockdown restrictions.”

He said that people should continue to take personal responsibility for limiting infection by ensuring that indoor spaces get as much fresh air as possible; washing their hands regularly and for 20 seconds, and following rules on self-isolation if they develop symptoms or test positive for coronavirus; and seek a free NHS test if they are showing symptoms.

Posted on Monday 21st December 2020

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