Home Breaking News Scientific advisors who advise No 10 ‘would not feel safe’ at a Christmas party as ‘the chances of getting infected were too high’

Scientific advisors who advise No 10 ‘would not feel safe’ at a Christmas party as ‘the chances of getting infected were too high’

3rd Dec 21 9:42 am

One member of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag) who are a group of influential government scientific advisors has warned that he would not feel safe going to a Christmas party this year.

However, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted there is no need to cancel plans this Christmas despite the new variant Omicron sweeping across the UK.

Professor Peter Openshaw, a member of the Government’s Nervtag, said “the chances of getting infected were too high” to attend a Christmas party.

Professor Openshaw, who is an expert in experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said, “We have not been planning to have a Christmas party.”

He warned, “Because with things as they are, regardless of Omicron, we thought that the chances of getting infected were too high.”

This comes as the Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Johnson have both tried to calm fears and insist it is safe to attend Christmas parties, which they announced after the hospitality sector warned of a “catastrophic” festive season and the industry has suffered a “slew of cancellations.”

Professor Openshaw was asked about the Prime Minister’s stance on Christmas plans, he told BBC’s Question Time, “Personally, I wouldn’t feel safe going to a party at the moment, if it involves being indoors in an enclosed space where you’re close to other people, and people are not wearing masks.

“Even if they’ve been tested and vaccinated, I wouldn’t feel safe.”

Dr Penelope Toff, chair of the BMA’s public health medicine committee, contradicted the Health Secretary and the Prime Minister’s stance that it is safe to attend Christmas parties.

Dr Toff slammed the government, she said, “contradictory public health messages about Covid-19 are very unhelpful for everyone.”

“There should be no confusion about what to do over the festive period.

“There have been persistently high levels of Covid-19 infections in the community in recent months, and we now have a new variant circulating, which is worrying.

“Stronger measures need to be implemented without delay, to prevent even higher rates of spread of the virus in the community.

“People need to be encouraged to avoid large groups, to meet only outdoors where possible and face masks should be worn in all public indoor spaces except when people are seated to eat and drink.”

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