How to stay Covid safe at events as Chris Whitty advises Christmas ‘caution’

Coronavirus: Chris Whitty quizzed on vaccinating pregnant women

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Christmas may not pan out as the Most Wonderful Time of the Year in 2021 thanks to the new Covid variant, which has forced the Government to reinstate several restrictions. MPs voted them into law on Tuesday, and the Prime Minister has not ruled out any further measures should the current trend continue. Dr Kathrine O’Reilly, Medical Director at health and security services firm International SOS, outlined six things people should keep on their mind as Christmas party season approaches.

Get jabbed

Dr O’Reilly, like most of the UK’s pre-eminent scientists, recommended people pick up a vaccine, booster or otherwise “as soon as you are eligible”.

But she went a step further, adding people should try and pair it with the annual flu jab.

She said the vaccine is vital for protection against other circulating viruses.

Itineraries

With the UK’s infection landscape and lockdown odds becoming increasingly uncertain, Dr O’Reilly also recommended flexibility.

When it comes to travel, people should try and keep departure and return times “as flexible as possible”.

She added that contingency plans are “more important than ever” ahead of potential travel restrictions.

Travel restrictions

For flexibility’s sake, people will need to keep a close eye on travel restrictions.

Although there aren’t any currently, they could eventually decide how people move based on vaccination status and nationality.

Dr O’Reilly suggested: “Understand if pre- or post-departure COVID-19 tests are necessary, if there are any self-isolation or mask requirements or whether you have to download a digital health pass to verify your vaccination status.”

Be crowd safe

Streets have started swelling as people start Christmas shopping and attending markets or parties.

Even people awaiting their booster shots will have to wait in lengthy queues.

According to Dr O’Reilly, people should ensure they stay safe in these settings, with masks and social distancing among precautions.

She said: “Stay vigilant, keep valuables secure or out of sight, also identify your closest points of exit and abide by local directives, if an incident does occur.”

Professor Whitty has suggested people take similar measures, asking Britons to make “sensible” choices.

His primary advice was for people to cut back on socialising where possible.

He advised against mixing where people “don’t have to” and added work parties are ill-advised.

He made the statement as he predicted Covid case records would “be broken a lot over the next few weeks”.

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