Public warned to ‘minimise’ socialising to stop Omicron spread ruining Christmas

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The Health Security Agency’s chief medic has urged the public to take lateral flow tests before meeting others and to work from home.

Testing before a Christmas celebration can help to prevent the spread of the virus
Testing before a Christmas celebration can help to prevent the spread of the virus

The public should keep social contact to a minimum if they want to have Christmas with their friends and family, a senior adviser has warned.

Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser for the UK Health Security Agency, has called for the public to take responsibility for their own health and that of their loved ones.

Having less contact with other people, taking lateral flow tests before meeting anyone, working from home, wearing a face covering, keeping areas well ventilated, getting vaccinated and having the booster jab are all measures people can take, she said.

Dr Hopkins was asked if people should lie low in the next week or two if they want to avoid Omicron and spend Christmas with their families.

She told Times Radio: “We’ve spent two years, almost two years now living with this virus. We know how it transmits. It transmits when we’re with other people.

Dr Susan Hopkins has urged people to lie low for a while
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“And therefore when we are coming up to a time where we will have engagements that we want to make, family that we want to see, then ensuring that we have less contacts before those is important so that we don’t transmit to others.”

Asked if she would advise people to avoid going out if they want to see family members at Christmas, Dr Hopkins said: “People know how transmission is prevented. I know how transmission is prevented. It’s prevented by reducing your social contacts.

“But sometimes you need to see your friends and you need to see your work colleagues or you need to go to that Christmas party for your mental health and wellbeing.

Brits are working from home again to reduce transmission
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“If you’re going to do that, then take a lateral flow, go and get your vaccine, get boosted as soon as possible.

“Those are actions that you can take. If you want to make sure that you are not going to get infected, then keep your contacts to a minimum.”

Asked what her advice is to people going to Christmas parties, she said it will be about “individual decision making” and what people need to do for their own mental health wellbeing.

People must minimise social contact to have Christmas with loved ones
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“Taking lateral flows before you go to these events will help reduce transmission.

“And it will be for individuals to make those decisions in the coming days to decide how they want to spend their time and how they want to reduce transmission amongst their community.

“I think it’s really important we all take the actions we can in order to enable everything possible to spend Christmas with our families,” she said.

Dr Hopkins said further discussions and decisions would be made in Government this week about how to address the spread of Omicron.

She added: “What we need to do is for people to take actions themselves to prevent transmission.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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