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Greater freedom at Christmas could mean a tougher lockdown is on the way

Each day of greater freedom around Christmas could require an extra five days of coronavirus restrictions, scientists have said.

It has been reported households could be allowed to mix indoors for a five-day period starting on Christmas Eve - meaning a potential 25-day period of tighter measures into January if such advice was implemented.

The public will need to make 'every effort' to keep coronavirus cases low in December in order to gather during the festive season, a Public Health England director said.

Dr Susan Hopkins, a senior medical adviser to the Government's Covid-19 response, suggested tougher restrictions could be needed either side of Christmas if curbs are to be eased for a time.

She told a Downing Street briefing: "We are very keen that we have a Christmas as close to normal as possible. That requires all of us to make every effort over this national restriction period and even in early December to get the cases as low as possible and to reduce the risk of transmission within households and between families."

"A final decision will rest with the Government and we look forward to hearing what those plans are."

Dr Hopkins told the briefing: "So coming into Christmas, we need to be very careful about the number of contacts we have to reduce transmission before Christmas and get our cases as low as possible."

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