Scientists say public must wear masks and work from home or risk Xmas lockdown

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SAGE scientists have warned of a potential Christmas lockdown, and said that the public must wear masks and work from home if they want to prevent a Christmas lockdown.

Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of SAGE, has said that current death rates are "unacceptable", and the public must take action immediately.

Several trade unions including the TUC, Usdaw, Unison, Unite, the GMB, and Aslef, who together represent more than 3 million workers, have issued a joint statement calling for a return to home working, as well as a mask mandate.

They claim that there are "hundreds" of outbreaks in workplaces across the country, with cases and deaths continuing to soar.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Professor Openshaw said: "I'm very fearful that we're going to have another lockdown Christmas if we don't act soon.

"We know that with public health measures the time to act is immediately. There's no point in delaying.

"We all really, really want a wonderful family Christmas where we can all get back together.

"If that's what we want, we need to get these measures in place now in order to get transmission rates right down so that we can actually get together and see one another over Christmas."

He added that he believes that hospitals are "barely coping" under the pressure of thousands of cases.

The alarming statement comes shortly after chancellor Rishi Sunak appeared to rule out a further lockdown, saying that it was "not on the cards".

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The chancellor cited the vaccine rollout and booster jabs as ensuring that further restrictions will not be needed to slow the spread of covid despite going into what the chancellor conceded could be a "challenging" winter.

Deaths are now reaching alarming levels again, with 180 deaths involving covid-19 being reported on Friday.

Papers presented to the government stress the importance of booster jabs to ensure the continuing effectiveness of the vaccine.

There are also concerns that the spring of 2022 could see a spike in infections as vaccine immunity wanes.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has emphasised the need for the public to come forward for their booster jabs in order to maintain that immunity, and urged people to "follow the guidance" on mask wearing and social distancing.

  • Christmas
  • Coronavirus

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