Coronavirus news – live: Christmas ‘may lead to third wave’ but life ‘could start to normalise by spring’

Chiara Giordano,Samuel Osborne and Andy Gregory
·1-min read
<p>UK governments unveil coronavirus Christmas plans</p> (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

UK governments unveil coronavirus Christmas plans

(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Experts are warning the planned relaxation of coronavirus restrictions over Christmas could lead to a third wave of the pandemic, after the UK’s four nations agreed three households would be allowed to mix in a bubble for five days over the festive period.

Professor Andrew Hayward, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), told BBC’s Newsnight “it will definitely lead to increased transmission”, adding: “It is likely to lead to a third wave of infection, with hospitals being overrun, and more unnecessary deaths.”

Watch: What do we know about the Christmas bubble rules?

He also described the bringing together of families with elderly relatives “for hours, let alone days” as “a recipe for regret for many families”.

And as the UK recorded its highest number of total daily deaths since the start of May, the British Medical Association (BMA) also warned that the Christmas period will “almost certainly” lead to a rise in the infection rate.

Meanwhile, England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty has said that “many of us hope that things will begin to normalise” by spring 2021, but cautioned that this will be a “steady” rather than immediate return to normality.