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Grandparents could be forced to avoid giving hugs to their precious grandchildren over the Christmas holidays in the event of a second coronavirus wave, the UK Health Secretary has warned.
Matt Hancock said under a worst-case scenario the UK could once again find itself being put under strain by the coronavirus once again.
He told The Times: “A second wave is clearly visible in the other parts of the world. It is a very serious threat.
“But, so far in the UK, we are managing to keep the number of new cases flat through a combination of test and trace and local lockdowns.”
Mr Hancock added: “This is a reasonable worst-case scenario, that we have a bad flu and a growth in coronavirus as people spend more time indoors.
“Cases go up again and we have to use very extensive local lockdowns or take further national action. We don’t rule that out but we don’t want to see it.”
Mr Hancock suggested that grandparents would be unable to embrace their grandchildren at Christmas – unless a vaccine was fully approved before then.
He continued: “I yearn to be able to remove the restrictions on social contact but those restrictions are absolutely necessary at the moment.
“We’ll be keeping them in place for the foreseeable. We hope for the best and we prepare for the worst.”
The government also fears that as many as 85,000 could die should a second Covid-19 wave hit this winter.
A leaked government report has outlaid the "reasonable worst-case scenario" of the number of deaths due to Covid-19 over the winter months.
It suggests 85,000 could be the figure the UK hits once the colder weather arrives.
But it is clear to point out that this is a "scenario, not a prediction".
Sage scientific advisory group have prepared the report, which BBC Newsnight has seen, to help the NHS and local authorities plan ahead.
In the report it says schools will remain open.
The trace, isolation, and quarantine measures will be 40% effective in stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
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