Covid: James O'Brien disagrees with caller over international travel during Christmas

19 November 2020, 15:37 | Updated: 19 November 2020, 15:40

By Sam Sholli

This is the moment James O'Brien and a caller disagreed on the subject of international travel over the Christmas period.

The exchange comes as a top scientist has warned that mixing households at Christmas poses "substantial risks" to older generations and will "throw fuel on the fire" of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is hoped that households will be able to mix during the festive period, but there are fears it could lead to another spike in infections, and the country may need to have stricter restrictions imposed to avoid a third wave.

Chris from Richmond told James: "I've got a concern about international travel...My daughters haven't seen their grandmother in close to a year. They lost their grandad over in Argentina 18 months ago. They've got cousins they haven't seen.

He added: "My daughter is already having meltdowns at the prospect of not going. It's affecting her education [and] her concentration."

James replied: "It's a trade-off, isn't it though? Obviously you know her a lot better than I do.

"But if she were, for example, to be an asymptomatic carrier of Covid-19 and she gave it to her vulnerable grandmother as a result of a Christmas visit, I'm pretty sure that would have a pretty hefty mental toll as well, no?"

Chris told James "there are things you can do to stop that" and insisted that there is a "very narrow window of opportunity" for his daughters to see their loved ones abroad.

However, James said: "I sympathise and I feel for you, but the countries that have managed to really keep a lid on this virus are the countries that have curtailed foreign travel way more than we have."