Boris needs to rethink plans to allow Christmas get-togethers, warns Northamptonshire health chief

'We could take weeks trying to make up lost ground in battle against coronavirus,' says Lucy Wightman

Northamptonshire's health chief says the Government needs to review plans to relax Covid restrictions over Christmas.

Lucy Wightman fears it could take "a number of weeks" trying to make up ground lost during the five-day easing of rules.

The county's Public Health Director insisted "there's not a lot of logic" in the idea that we should be mixing more during the holidays and Prime Minister Boris Johnson would be "foolish" not to rethink easing rules.

She added: "Our NHS services are already completely overloaded, we're still seeing significant increases in cases and, sadly, deaths.

"There's not a lot of logic to the suggestion that we should be mixing more over Christmas.

"We've seen what happens when we come out of lockdown and when we're in different tiers and people are able to do more things.

"That's why stuck with mantra locally that just because you can do something does not mean you should."

Health chief Lucy Wightman believes the PM needs to rethink plans for a Christmas easing over Covid restrictions

Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday announced swathes of London, Essex and Hertfordshire will be put under the toughest Covid measures.

Many fear Northamptonshire could suffer the same fate when results of a full review into the tiers are announced on Thursday.

Mr Hancock also stressed the Government's message "is really clear" about allowing friends and loved ones from up to three households to get together in 'bubbles' between December 23 and December 27.

That relaxation was announced nearly a month ago, however — during the second national lockdown — since when the number of positive tests, hospital admissions and deaths has risen sharply.

Mrs Wightman said: "The way things are looking in so many areas of the country, the Government would be foolish not to consider if its original plan needs to be amended.

"Clearly there is significant concern in areas around London and the South East, even locally we're seeing a worrying rise in cases particularly in Northampton

"With this relaxation period over Christmas, we could be losing ground that we wll spend a number of weeks trying to catch up in the new year.

"We saw a big spike before lockdown because people had been told it was going to happen and they did things that perhaps in hindsight they shouldn't have.

"Christmas going to be exactly the same. We will see that significant spike in cases.

"Yes it is confusing but we need to let common sense prevail. Everyone wants to see their relatives but it poses a risk and you should be seriously considering whether you should do it."