Former public health boss suggests deferring Christmas to April or May


Asher McShane -

Shoppers on Regent St yesterday. Picture: PA

NHS bosses have warned that relaxing restrictions could trigger a third wave of coronavirus at the busiest time of year for hospitals.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, NHS Providers urged "extreme caution" in moving any area of England to a lower tier.

The first review of England's tier allocation is due take place on Wednesday, two weeks after the three-tier system was brought in following the end of lockdown.

But areas should be moved into the highest tier of restrictions "as soon as this is needed, without any delay", according to the letter from NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts in England.

John Ashton, a former Regional Director of Public Health for the North of England, says he's concerned people will spread the virus over Christmas. He said: "I would have said stick to the immediate family. Do that at Christmas. We have got light at the end of the tunnel come February, March - certainly when we get to after Easter, things are going to seem very different. And for the sake of a few months, why can't we defer Christmas... to April or May."

Chief executive Chris Hopson said: "We're about to hit our busiest time of year so people are really worried that if we relax the restrictions now the NHS simply won't be able to cope with all of the work that it needs to do in late December, January and February."


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