Will there be a Christmas lockdown in England?

17 November 2021, 14:16 | Updated: 17 November 2021, 15:07

Will there be a lockdown over Christmas 2021?
Will there be a lockdown over Christmas 2021? Picture: Alamy
Polly Foreman

By Polly Foreman

Christmas lockdown: will there be another lockdown this December? Find out what Boris Johnson has said on the subject.

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There has been speculation that England could go into another lockdown this winter, and many are questioning whether measures could be reintroduced this Christmas.

Almost 40,000 people tested positive for Covid on Monday November 15, and the seven-day figures are up 12.5 per cent on the previous week. Deaths and hospitalisations, however, have stayed relatively low.

In September of this year, the government announced they had plans 'A' and 'B' to cope with the situation in winter.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid explained that Plan 'A' would involve things like booster jabs and testing, while plan 'B' is a a contingency plan that would be introduced only if cases rise substantially enough to require it.

The government said at the time that there are no plans for lockdown measures, but these haven't been ruled out completely.

The government has said that there's nothing in the data to suggest there will be another lockdown this winter
The government has said that there's nothing in the data to suggest there will be another lockdown this winter. Picture: Alamy

Will there be a lockdown this Christmas?

At the moment, we don't know whether there will be a lockdown, but Boris Johnson recently said there was 'nothing in the data' to suggest we will need to implement Plan B measures or a new lockdown.

He said: "I don’t see anything in the data at the moment that makes me think we need to go to further measures.

"I cannot rule anything out and the most important thing people can do to prevent NPIs (non-pharmaceutical interventions) from being needed is to get the booster."

Professor Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist whose modelling helped instigate the first lockdown of the pandemic, told the BBC: "I think it is unlikely we will get anything close to what we had last year, that catastrophic winter wave.

"We might see slow increases as we did in October, for instance, but not anything as rapid as we saw last year."

And when asked if the rise in cases in Europe could impact us, he said: "Not necessarily. We don’t fully understand the drivers of what’s causing the increases in places like Germany though where cases numbers have gone up very quickly. It may be waning immunity from the vaccines – they haven’t rolled out boosters as quickly as we have, it may be going into winter that people are mingling more indoors.

"We can’t be complacent, but at the moment I don’t think we’ll be in a situation the Netherlands is coming into where they really do need to get on top of rising case numbers using social distancing.

"I very much hope we can avoid that in this country."