Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

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elaxing coronavirus restrictions over Christmas could lead to an “unrelenting tsunami” of cases, a nursing chief has said. The warning came as swathes of southern and eastern England prepare to enter the top tier of Covid-19 restrictions. Rising numbers in cases have also led to fresh concerns about households mixing over the festive period.

Tougher coronavirus restrictions for large areas of southern England Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said ministers should give “fresh and more detailed” advice to the public with a week to go until Christmas. “After a difficult year, it is everybody’s instinct to want to be together and see loved ones – especially those who live far apart or feel isolated.

But what is at stake is coming into sharp focus,” she said. “Travelling and family visits associated with this time of year will undoubtedly lead to more cases, more pressure on NHS and care services, and more deaths. By turning the second and third waves into an unrelenting tsunami, we would begin 2021 in the worst possible way.”


Coronavirus – In pictures



Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

A sign advertising a book titled “How Will We Survive On Earth?” is seen on an underground station platform

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Customers wearing face masks shop at the pork counter of a supermarket following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei province

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Westminster Bridge is deserted in London the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Canadian passengers Chris & Anna Joiner ask for help onboard the MS Zaandam, Holland America Line cruise ship, during the coronavirus outbreak, off the shores of Panama City

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

A man crosses a nearly empty 5th Avenue in midtown Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

The London Eye is pictured lit blue in support of the NHS, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Milan’s Piazza del Duomo empty

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

People in protective clothing walk past rows of beds at a temporary 2,000-bed hospital for COVID-19 coronavirus patients set up by the Iranian army at the international exhibition center in northern Tehran, Iran

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Martina Papponetti, 25, an ICU nurse at the Humanitas Gavazzeni Hospital in Bergamo, Italy poses for a portrait at the end of her shift

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Pope Francis celebrating a daily mass alone in the Santa Marta chapel at the Vatican, as part of precautionary measures against the spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Vysheyshaya Liga – FC Torpedo-BelAZ Zhodino v FC Belshina Bobruisk – Torpedo Stadium, Zhodino, Belarus, March 27, 2020 Players in action during the match despite most sport being cancelled around the world as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

General view of an emergency makeshift field hospital as it is set up at Pacaembu Stadium for coronavirus (COVID-19) patients with a capacity of 200 beds in Sao Paulo, Brazil

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

People on a busy tube train in London at rush hour despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling on people to stay away from pubs, clubs and theatres, work from home if possible and avoid all non-essential contacts and travel in order to reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Sophie and Emily Ward pose for a photograph with their hand-drawn picture of rainbows and a message on their window in St Helens, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Mia, aged 8, and Jack, aged 5, take part in “PE with Joe” a daily live workout with Joe Wicks on Youtube to help kids stay fit who have to stay indoors due to the Corona virus outbreak.

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Shoppers queue outside a branch of Costco, in Croydon, south London, on the weekend after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered pubs and restaurants across the country to close

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Charing Cross Tube Bakerloo Line very quiet at 8.15am

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

A Racegoer attend Cheltenham Festival on Ladies Day wearing a fashionable face mask

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits a laboratory at the Public Health England National Infection Service in Colindale

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

A couple kiss in Milano Centrale railway station in Milan on March 8, 2020

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

A combination picture shows visitors wearing protective face masks following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) looking at blooming cherry blossom nd a pigeon walking at an closed cherry blossom viewing spot during the first weekend after Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike (not pictured) urged Tokyo residents to stay indoors, in a bid to keep the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from spreading

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

This combination photo created on March 5, 2020 shows tourists visiting Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap province on March 16, 2019 (top) and on March 5, 2020

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

U.S. President Donald Trump looks at the £2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package bill as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Vice President Mike Pence stand by during a signing ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

General view inside the empty stadium as the two teams line up prior to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund at Parc des Princes

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

A Sainsbury’s supermarket in Cambridge is among those to sell out of antibacterial hand sanitizer

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Tents and ambulances are set up next to the Princess Cruises Grand Princess cruise as it sits docked in the Port of Oakland on March 09, 2020 in Oakland, California.

The Princess Cruises Grand Princess has been held from docking until today as at least 21 people on board have tested positive for COVID-19 also known as the Coronavirus

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Medical staff produce traditional Chinese medicine to treat patients infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus at a hospital in Wuhan

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Army soldiers wearing protective suits spray disinfectant as a precaution against the new coronavirus at a shopping street in Seoul, South Korea

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Russian President Vladimir Putin wearing protective gear walks at a hospital for patients infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the outskirts of Moscow

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

A woman who has recovered from the COVID-19 is disinfected by volunteers as she arrives at a hotel for a 14-day quarantine

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Passengers on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship are seen as the ship arrives at Daikoku Pier where it is being resupplied and newly diagnosed coronavirus cases taken for treatment as it remains in quarantine after a number of the 3,700 people on board were diagnosed with coronavirus

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Manchester United fans in the stands during the Premier League match at Old Trafford

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Police officers wearing masks stand in front of the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in La Caleta, in the Canary Island of Tenerife

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Carnival revellers wear protective face masks at Venice Carnival

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

A general view is pictured of Burbage Primary School in Buxton, Derbyshire after the closure of the school as a pupil’s parent has tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

People wearing face masks walk past the Olympic rings in front of the new National Stadium, the main stadium for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Game

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

People leave Kents Hill Park Training and Conference Centre in Milton Keynes where Coronavirus evacuees are due to be released from quarantine today and allowed to go home

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Matt Raw, a British national who returned from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, leaves quaratine at Arrowe Park Hospital on Merseyside

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Passengers relax on board the Holland America-operated Westerdam cruise ship, which has been denied permission to dock in Thailand over coronavirus fears

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

A child waves as she sits in a vehicle carrying residents evacuated from a public housing building, following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, outside Hong Mei House, at Cheung Hong Estate in Hong Kong

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

A woman wearing a Minnie Mouse face mask looks at her mobile phone in Beijing on February 11, 2020

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

The Costa Smeralda cruise ship of Costa Crociere, carrying around 6,000 passengers, is docked at the Italian port of Civitavecchia after a health alert due to a Chinese couple and a possible link to coronavirus on board, in Civitavecchia, Italy

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

A patient covered with a bed sheet at an exhibition centre converted into a hospital as it starts to accept patients displaying mild symptoms of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

A medical official takes the body temperature of a man at the departure hall of the airport in Changsha, Hunan Province, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, China

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

A plane carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, arrives at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire

Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

French citizens arrive and settle aboard of an evacuation plane with destination southeastern France, before departure from Wuhan Airport (WUH), China

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Police stand at a checkpoint at the Jiujiang Yangtze River Bridge that crosses from Hubei province in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, China

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

A member of staff at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside prepares for a bus carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Doctor Paul McKay, who is working on an vaccine for the 2019-nCoV strain of the novel coronavirus, poses for a photograph with bacteria containing fragments of coronavirus DNA, at Imperial College School of Medicine (ICSM) in Londo

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Workers produce masks at the Thai Hospital Product Company Ltd. factory in Bangkok

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Passengers wearing face masks are seen on a bus after disembarking from the Costa Smeralda cruise ship, after tests on a woman from Macau with suspected coronavirus came back negative, in Civitavecchia, Italy

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

People hoard bottles of alcohol after the Philippine government confirmed the first case of the new coronavirus in the country, in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Taking precautions: with fears growing that the coronavirus will spread from China, a health official checks a woman’s temperature on the underground in Beijing

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

An empty road is seen in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on January 27, 2020, amid a deadly virus outbreak which began in the city

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Students wearing masks meditate prior to a lesson at a high school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Medical staff at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital wear protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly virus

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Staff move bio-waste containers past the entrance of the Wuhan Medical Treatment Center, where some infected with a new virus are being treated, in Wuhan, China

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Workers driving excavators at the construction site of a field hospital In Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The builders will complete the 1,000-bed hospital by February 3 to cope with the surge of 2019-nCoV patients in the city

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Buddhist monks wear masks as they walk near Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodi

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

A woman and a child wearing protective masks walk toward check-in counters at Daxing international airport in Beijing

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

An employee sprays disinfectant on a train as a precaution against a new coronavirus at Suseo Station in Seoul, South Korea

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

A policeman wearing a mask walks past a quarantine notice about the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, China at an arrival hall of Haneda airport in Tokyo, Japan

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Paramilitary police wear face masks as they stand guard at Tiananmen Gate adjacent to Tiananmen Square in Beijing

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

The resident wear masks to buy vegetables in the market in Wuhan

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Staff sell masks at a Yifeng Pharmacy in Wuhan

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Christmas mixing could lead to Covid case ‘tsunami,’ health boss warns amid fears of third national lockdown

Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV

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She said nurses would not enjoy Christmas “knowing what awaits them in January” and called on the Government to be “clearer about the risks – not just the rules”, warning: “This virus isn’t taking Christmas off and nor should we.”

Up to three households are able to mix between December 23 and 27, while travel to and from Northern Ireland is also permitted on December 22 and 28. In a bid to control the spread of coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Thursday that Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Peterborough, Hertfordshire, Surrey (with the exception of Waverley), Hastings and Rother (on the Kent border of East Sussex), and Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant in Hampshire will all move into Tier 3. Under the top level of restrictions, pubs and restaurants can only offer takeaway or delivery services and indoor entertainment venues are shut.

Labour leader fears England tier system ‘not strong enough’ The changes mean a total of 38 million people will be living in Tier 3 from Saturday – 68 per cent of the population of England. Bristol and North Somerset will move from Tier 3 to Tier 2, while Herefordshire will go down into Tier 1, although the county’s public health director raised concerns about the relaxation of measures there.

The announcements added to unease on the Tory benches about the Government’s response to the pandemic. Steve Baker, deputy chair of the Covid Recovery Group of lockdown-sceptic Conservatives, called for clarity on how areas move between tiers. Elsewhere in the UK, ministers in Northern Ireland agreed to introduce a six-week lockdown from Boxing Day to curb rising cases.

Non-essential retail and contact services will close there and the hospitality sector will be restricted to takeaway only. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford warned that “small acts of selfishness” on an individual level were adding up to the problems seen in Wales, as he predicted in an interview with the BBC that other parts of the UK may need to introduce stricter restrictions after Christmas.

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And in Scotland, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said tougher coronavirus restrictions after the festive period – including a potential lockdown – is a “possibility” due to a “rising tide of Covid”. The latest areas to join Tier 3 come after London and parts of Hertfordshire and Essex were placed under the top level of restrictions earlier this week.

Covid-19 case rates are rising in all but one region of England, according to the latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England. The highest rate is in London, which stood at 319.3 cases per 100,000 people in the week to December 13, up from 199.9 in the previous week. In eastern England the rate has risen from 152.9 to 249.1, while in south-east England the rate has increased from 167.6 to 238.7.

The only region that recorded a week-on-week fall was Yorkshire and the Humber, where the rate dropped slightly from 153.6 to 148.5.

Mr Hancock said: “I regret having to take the action that we have to take.

“I deem it necessary and there is a strong view right across Government that these actions are necessary.”