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People WILL be able to hug their families at Christmas after second lockdown, SAGE expert says

PEOPLE WILL be able to hug their families at Christmas after the second lockdown, a SAGE expert has said.

Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member of the Government's scientific advisory group, said that hugging could be on the cards for the festive period – if we drive infection rates down in November.

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The former Oxford University professor said that there is a "good chance" December could see some restrictions lifted, so that families can meet more freely.

This means children may be able to embrace their grandparents on Christmas Day.

Despite not promising a complete return to normal life, Sir Jeremy said that the end of the year will "certainly be different to the lockdown measures we are in at the moment."

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 about the possibility of physical contact between generations, the SAGE expert said: "I think it could come back at Christmas, I really do.

"We're not going back to a normal society at Christmas, there will still have to be some restrictions.

"But if we respect the current lockdown and do what we all know we must do… We can get the infection down through the month of November."

He added: "I'm optimistic that will be true if we drive the infection rate down over the course of the next month.

"That is very doable, and Christmas could be back to hugging families."


This comes as immunologist Professor John Bell told BBC Radio 4 "with some confidence" that life will return to normal by the Spring.

Leaders from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are set to meet later this week to discuss a UK-wide set of restrictions for the Christmas period.

They are set to lay out a common approach, so that the same festive Covid rules apply across the UK.

Meanwhile, the world was given its first glimmer of hope this morning when US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced that their Covid vaccine is 90 per cent effective.

Experts have hailed today "great day for humanity" as the jabs were proven to protect nine out of 10 people from coronavirus.

Pfizer plan to apply to the US regulator the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency approval to use the vaccine by the end of the month.

Downing Street hailed the results as "promising" and said the UK will have 10 million doses ready by the end of the year, if approved by regulators.

GPs and hospitals have been told to prepare for roll-out within three weeks, with the over 85s and NHS staff expected to be first in line.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The NHS stands ready to begin a vaccination programme for those most at risk once a Covid-19 vaccine is available before being rolled out more widely.

"In total, we've procured 40 million doses of the Pfizer candidate vaccine, with 10 million of those doses being manufactured and available to the UK by the end of the year if the vaccine is approved by the regulators."

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