Shropshire Star comment: Should we be allowed to mix this Christmas?

We’re going to be allowed to gather to celebrate Christmas. The more prescient question is this: should we?

A generic stock photo of a family Christmas scene.
A generic stock photo of a family Christmas scene.

While noting the remarkable strain under which we’ve all laboured since March and while noting the strain that Covid has placed on the nation’s mental health, we must not rush into activities that we will regret.

Yes, we’ll be able to mix for a short while at Christmas and that will bring cheer to a great many. Yet the public health restrictions, designed by scientists, are there to protect us. With a vaccine now on the horizon and with the roll-out of that planned within a few months, we ought not risk it all while knowing that the elderly and vulnerable might suffer.

Earlier this year, a Government minister adopted the slogan ‘don’t kill your granny’. Though the phraseology might seem a little crass, a little indelicate, the message cuts through. People will be partying as they let off steam following an awful year. Many of those who do will become infected with Covid-19 and they will pass that on to others. So elderly people will face a direct chain of infection that links others of all ages and all backgrounds. Their immune systems may be unable to cope, with disastrous consequences.

While the UK will be having time off from lockdown this Christmas, Covid-19 will be working 24-7 to infect as many people as it can. It won’t be observing the easing of restrictions; to the disease, that will simply be an opportunity to infect more people.

So while all families will want to display their love and affection for one another for a few days at least, before heading back into another tiered lockdown, they might ask themselves this: Is it really worth it?

We should not be under any illusions, there will be good-natured individuals who will act in good faith by hosting Christmas dinners or parties and who will unintentionally become a hub for disease transmission. The Prime Minister told Brits to show common sense and take personal responsibility, earlier in the year. Now is the time for that.

Some will go ahead anyway, others will decide it’s not worth the risk.

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