Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
Ex-Tory MP lambasts PM's "wishy washy" message on Christmas rules
16 December 2020, 18:34
Former Conservative MP and GP Dr Sarah Wollaston criticised the Prime Minister's language and "wishy washy" message when he spoke about the Christmas Covid rules.
Addressing the public from Number 10, Boris Johnson said that Christmas Covid rules will not change and has instead urged people to keep any celebrations "small and local".
This is at odds with the devolved nations as Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford announced he would reduce Christmas bubbles to two households over the relaxation period, and Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today it was her "strong recommendation" that people remain in their own household over Christmas.
Dr Sarah Wollaston firstly lambasted the Prime Minister's language, after he said it was "inhuman" for the Government to retract their Christmas relaxation.
"That's a very mixed message for people to hear, because what they're hearing from the Government is somehow that they'd be behaving in an inhuman way if they cancelled their Christmas," Dr Sarah said, "what people hear from that sometimes is somehow they would be also therefore inhuman if they cancelled Christmas."
Dr Sarah said people are feeling guilty about spending the festive season without elderly or vulnerable loved ones anyway - and if people are made to feel that they are "inhuman", they may mix households and infect the vulnerable.
"This is a soon-to-be preventable illness for the vulnerable and I'd have liked to see the Government be much much clearer in their messaging...instead we're hearing this mixed wishy washy messaging that we've had throughout this," she said.
Eddie pointed out that there are many people who have suffered mentally throughout the year and looking forward to Christmas as a moment of light.
Dr Sarah said while in clinical practice she has spoken with people who are suffering from "real loneliness" during this pandemic: "What you also have to balance up is this isn't just like the flu. It's a really serious pneumonia-inducing virus, and it's really not a nice way to go. It's a horrible disease for people."
She also cited long Covid, which can affect people for months and possibly even years after initial contraction.
"What we know from the experience in America, is when they had this mass mixing over Thanksgiving, it was a really huge super-spreader event."
Dr Sarah urged the Government to instead really urge people not to mix households this Christmas with a vaccine being rolled out - instead, just delay celebrations.