Mayor's Christmas warning as 'uptick' of coronavirus cases expected after the festive period

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees.
Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees. Credit: LDRS

Bristol’s mayor is encouraging people to be cautious over Christmas, warning an “uptick” in coronavirus is expected afterwards.

The city is being moved from Tier 3 into Tier 2 on Saturday 19 December, but its mayor Marvin Rees has suggested people should organise their celebrations on the basis of “need” not “want” to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service reports his advice echoes the words of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has urged people to keep gatherings “short” and “small” this Christmas.

Restrictions will be relaxed between December 23 and 27 to allow up to three households to form a temporary “Christmas bubble”.

The same three households can mix indoors in private homes, but the PM has advised people not to stay overnight during the five-day period. 

In a live Q&A session on Facebook on Wednesday 16 December, Mr Rees said: “While the guidance for Christmas makes more things permissible, that doesn’t mean that they are required. 

“So I would suggest that when you’re upping the frequency and the scope of your physical interactions with people, do it on the basis of need, rather than on the basis of wanting to do that.

“There are lots of things we want to do but those aren’t necessarily advisable at this point in time, so we do need to be responsible.”

He urged people to behave in a Covid-safe way over Christmas to reduce the spread of the virus and protect hospitals.

“We do expect that there will be an uptick in Covid after Christmas as a result of people mixing more,” he said.

“Over Christmas, stay safe, be aware of your Covid-safe behaviours, and take care of yourselves and your families, and minimise the risk that you and your families and loved ones are exposed to.”

Mr Rees plans to have Christmas at home with his family and his mum would be there for Christmas day, according to a spokesperson from his office.

Mr Rees said as at 4pm on Tuesday 15 December, Bristol’s rate of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people was 115.

This was much lower than the national average of 173 and lower than the rates in South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, with 148 and 122 cases per 100,000 people, respectively.

However, it was higher than the rate in Bath & North East Somerset, which had 95 cases per 100,000.

The R-rate for the South West is currently between 0.8 and 1, meaning that every 10 people infected with the virus will spread it to between eight and 10 other people.

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