Boris Johnson says 'smaller Christmas is a safer Christmas' as he explains new festive coronavirus rules

16 December 2020, 16:03 | Updated: 16 December 2020, 16:14

Boris Johnson says people need to exercise caution
Boris Johnson says people need to exercise caution. Picture: Getty

The Prime Minister made an unscheduled speech on Wednesday afternoon, where he urged people to avoid crowds, not stay over at people's homes, and not travel over the next few weeks.

Boris Johnson has urged people to keep their Christmas gatherings as "small and short" as possible as coronavirus cases rise across the UK.

The Prime Minister made an impromptu speech to the nation on Wednesday afternoon, where he was forced to admit that the Government's previous guidelines regarding a five day 'window' that allowed people to mingle for Christmas was now proving to be problematic.

He said: "Having looked at the latest data with our colleagues from the devolved administrations, the overall situation is more challenging than when we set the rules."

However, despite leaders in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales calling for tighter restrictions over Christmas, he refused to fully backtrack on green-lighting festive mingling, adding cancelling Christmas would be "inhumane" due to its "immense emotional, spiritual importance."

Read more: Scientists urge people to celebrate Christmas wearing masks... at home

There has been a surge in infections of coronavirus across the south east of England, with Essex, parts of Hertfordshire and London all plunged in tough tier 3 restrictions.

He said: "We hold our nerve this winter. We are now in a race to protect us all while doing all we can to keep the virus under control.

"It's not right to criminalise people wanting to spend Christmas with their loved ones, but we are asking you to think long and hard about the days ahead.

"A smaller Christmas is a safer Christmas. A shorter Christmas safer Christmas."

He added that people should isolate where possible for five days before the allocated 'Christmas window' and to make sure that you come in to contact with to as few other people as possible.  

New guidelines also urge people to avoid staying away from home overnight, or travelling from higher tiered areas to lower ones.

The problem, reiterated by Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty is that the virus spreads invisibly from people who don’t even have symptoms, and with so many different households meeting up, it made prime conditions for the virus to cause a deadly third wave.

The PM quipped: "Have yourselves a merry little Christmas, and this year I do mean little."