A majority of Brits do not think the national lockdown in England will end on 2 December, a survey has suggested.
Despite the government insisting the second lockdown will definitely end at the start of December, over half (55%) of people do not believe them, according to the YouGov survey.
Less than a quarter (22%) believe the restrictions will end on 2 December, while a similar amount (23%) of the 6,729 people questioned said they did not know.
Downing Street insistence on lockdown ending came just one day after health secretary Matt Hancock appeared to suggest it could carry on longer.
On Monday, Hancock hinted the lockdown may be prolonged because “it is too early for us to know what the number of cases will be as we come to the end of the current lockdown”.
He said: “At the moment, most of the tests we’re getting back, and most of the positive cases, are from around the time the lockdown came in, so we are yet to see in the data – and it’s too early to expect to see in the data – the impact of the second lockdown.
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“But we absolutely hope to be able to replace the national lockdown with a tiered system similar to what we had before.”
But a spokesman for Boris Johnson said yesterday: “The current restrictions will lapse in law on 2 December and it’s the prime minister’s intention to go back to a regionalised approach.”
While the tiered approach is set to return when the national lockdown ends, the government is reportedly deciding whether to relax the regulations for a few days over Christmas so that families can spend the festive period together.
According to The Times, up to three household bubbles could mix temporarily from Christmas Eve.
The Sun also reported that the Sage scientific advisory panel has been modelling the impact of meetings between groups bigger than six.
With Christmas Eve on a Thursday and a Bank Holiday on the following Monday, 28 December, ministers are looking at that five-day period to allow indoor gatherings.
However, business secretary Alok Sharma said this morning it is too early to say whether families will be allowed to gather over Christmas.
He told BBC Breakfast: “I want to have my mum and dad around, I want to have members of my family around that Christmas table.
“I just think it’s too early to be reaching any conclusions on that. What none of us knows right now is what the infection rate is going to be in different parts of the country.”
The Christmas reports came as medics warned that the tiered system that was in place before the national lockdown was inadequate in tackling the virus.
The British Medical Association has called for a beefed-up tier system when England’s lockdown ends.
It said the previous system was “inconsistent” and did not contain the spread of the virus.
Official figures showed a further 598 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, bringing the UK total to 52,745.
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