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Christmas: Larger family groups may not be able to gather together, says minister

Christmas has been put on ice after a Cabinet minister conceded that it was “too early to say” what restrictions would be in place by December. 

Sage has warned that all of England will need to be under Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions by mid-December scuppering Boris Johnson’s hopes for a normal Christmas.  

Downing Street is privately working on the assumption that the second wave of coronavirus will be more deadly than the first, with the death toll remaining high throughout the winter, the Telegraph revealed this morning. 

Responding to this news this morning George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, said: “We want people to be able to celebrate Christmas as normal as possible.

“But it is too early to say exactly what situation will be come Christmas, and to say what different parts of country will or will not able to do.”

He refused to rule out a possible circuit breaker in November – despite the possibility that could mean sacrificing Diwali to save Christmas. “We can never rule anything out but we think we have got right approach for now,” he said. 

The news has prompted fresh pressure from Labour, with shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth asying the Government’s failure to use the half-term for a circuit-breaker lockdown means they now need to “do something quickly to save Christmas”. 

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Eustice added: “I am sure we will be able to have a good Christmas. Families will be able to meet but may not be able to get together in the larger groups that they normally would.”

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