SAGE has called on the government to cancel the Christmas holiday period, and instead replace it with a midsummer break.
The scientific advisory group says that the country’s coronavirus infections rates will rise in January unless the festive period is scrapped.
It has also said that there is a ‘strong case’ that London is at risk of entering Tier 3 next week, The Mirror reports.
The group said: “It should be stressed that if everybody chooses to take advantage of the three-household rule, there is a very serious danger of a third wave of the pandemic.”
For anybody who does decide to take advantage of the eased restrictions Indie SAGE say a “pandemic fuel allowance” should be laid on, to cover heating bills so families can keep windows and doors open during Christmas.
“I think there should be a pandemic fuel allowance so every family – including poorer families – can keep the windows open and keep warm.”
He added: “It’s not just for government to tell us what to do – it’s for government to support us.”
Their calls come as Christina Pagel said trends showed areas under tier three restrictions had mostly seen case rates drop in recent weeks – apart from a few in Kent.
In London, though, case rates were rising, she said, meaning there was a “strong” argument for the capital entering tier three.
Meanwhile experts warn the NHS may be overwhelmed by a third wave of the pandemic in the New Year whilst it is still recovering from the second wave.
Professor Brian Jarman, an expert on hospital bed occupancy said: “The lockdown wasn’t enough and the easing of lockdown hasn’t helped and then we are getting another easing over Christmas. I am very worried for the New Year.
“The daily death rate is fluctuating between the mid 400s and mid 500s. That’s very high still. It means that between now and the last day of the year we are likely to see another 10,000 deaths. That would take the numbers towards 75,000.”
The warnings come a fortnight after government Sage documents suggested grottos could open this year – provided they are ventilated and nobody sits on Santa’s knee.
The documents published at the end of November also suggested family members sit in a row like Jesus’ last supper during Christmas dinners, to prevent aerosols transferring between family members.
Board games and other interactive activities should be avoided, their advice suggested.