More than half of Britons wouldn't mind if COVID restrictions remained for Christmas

Close up of modern adult people raising glasses while enjoying Christmas dinner at home, copy space
Restrictions are being relaxed to allow three households to form a 'Christmas bubble' over the festive period. (Getty)

More than half of people in the UK wouldn’t mind spending Christmas under restrictions, a new YouGov poll has revealed.

In total 60% of Britons said they wouldn’t mind or wouldn’t mind very much spending Christmas under restrictions, up from 50% last month, while 36% said they would mind a fair amount or a great deal.

The news follows the announcement that the UK government and the devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have agreed a relaxation of rules over that period.

Up to three households will be allowed to form a “Christmas bubble” between 23 and 27 December, and travel restrictions have also been relaxed to allow families to see each other.

But the governments have come under criticism for the decision to relax the rules.

Watch: What we know about the Christmas bubble rules

Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford has admitted the easing of restrictions over Christmas “will lead to more spreading of coronavirus” and urged people to be responsible.

At Tuesday’s Questions to the First Minister session, Drakeford told the Welsh Parliament: “The leader of Plaid Cymru asked what the impact of any relaxation over Christmas would be, and while I don’t have a quantifiable answer to that at the moment, the general answer is very clear.

“It will lead to more spreading of coronavirus, because coronavirus thrives when people get together, and the more people get together, the more coronavirus there will be.”

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Andrew Hayward, professor of infectious diseases epidemiology at University College London and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), warned on Tuesday that easing measures will lead to increased transmission and a possible “third wave” of infections next year.

Fellow Sage member Dr Michael Tildesley said on Monday there would need to be “very clear messaging” to prevent a spike in infections.

He said it would be best for people not to mix indoors but admitted people need an opportunity to be together during the holiday.

He warned people not to push the rules, adding: “What you don’t need to do is go and see your grandparents and then go out to see your friends in the pub on the same day, and go back to your grandparents – because that’s where the real risk is.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson appears via video link from 10 Downing Street to make a statement to the House of Commons in London, setting out plans for a new three-tier system of controls for coronavirus, which will come into place once lockdown ends in England.
Boris Johnson has said the public needs to 'think carefully' when forming bubbles. (Getty)

Boris Johnson has also said the public needed to “think carefully” about vulnerable family members when forming bubbles.

Sage member Dr Susan Hopkins said last week that every day of eased restrictions over Christmas will need to be counterbalanced with five days of tighter rules, which could mean restrictions last longer.

The Georgia Institute of Technology has released a COVID-19 event risk assessment planning tool showing the current risk of a gathering of 10 people in different UK local authority areas.

Watch: How to remove a face covering correctly

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