26 May 2022

Opinion from Adrian Leopard & Co

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Is panic beginning to set in as the divide grows wider?
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Is panic beginning to set in as the divide grows wider?

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Do you think you know what the various restrictions mean for you? Check it out and take no risks of getting it wrong.

A short while ago everyone was up in arms because they thought they would be prevented from “having Christmas” but the government decided that there should be a short remission from restrictions.

It is now the other way around. The loudest voices are the ones who say that Christmas is going to do nothing other than cause Covid-19 to spread further and faster. The government has once more been placed into an impossible position – to do another U turn is not going to do their street cred any good, or so they think, so they are saying the rules won’t change, but the advice will. How confusing is that?

Couple with that today’s announcement by the Health Secretary that the position is deteriorating, not just in the UK but Europe and even worldwide.

One of the guidelines I have been following, using trusty Johns Hopkins University table of cases is the number of countries with over 1000 new cases daily. You can check these figures out for yourself here:

but it was hovering around 50 which was quite a lot and then it went up to about 64 at one point. Then with lockdowns and other restrictions it dropped again down into the 50s. However, it is today standing at 61 so we are back in the higher tier. The UK comes at number 6 in that table at 25161 today although hold on for a moment as we have been told that some 25000 new cases have not been recorded “in error”. That may be corrected any time and show a different story. Another statistic is the number of death per million of population. Putting aside San Marino which is disproportionately small, Belgium heads that list at 1565 while the UK comes in at position 11 with 963.

The deaths per million is probably a more significant statistic because it shows where we are in relation to our population, rather than our country size. The US is next to us at 948 and they have now had over 17 million recorded cases. With world cases at 74.5 million and 1.65 million deaths, these numbers are beginning to get nasty. And we are told there is still a very long way to go.

So the government is increasing overall restrictions by moving large numbers of additional people into tier 3 while leaving Christmas alone, saying that a more local and smaller celebration would be more sensible. Are people going to take heed of that or just carry on regardless?

In the meanwhile people are still going shopping – they are not quite sure who they are shopping for or how much food to buy or maybe they are just going out to enjoy the Christmas lights in the streets.

A lot of people however are very confused by what the Christmas guidance actually means. They have every right to be confused as there is quite a lot of it and you can find it here:

Having said that, it is basically reasonably straightforward. You can do whatever you are permitted to within your own tier. This includes with respect to restaurants and pubs and of course tier 3 cannot dine in restaurants which will cause a huge number of businesses to lose money, especially given the planning they have already put into it all. No Christmas lunches at posh hotels in tier 3 I am afraid.

In addition to your normal tier restrictions, up to three families can form a Christmas bubble and go to another residence including staying overnight but once Christmas is over, the bubble ceases.

There is one lacuna in the regulations we have spotted – if you are travelling to form a bubble some distance away, now advised against, what is to say that you cannot stay longer on the basis of temporary change of residence? People are permitted to move and after all once you have made the journey and installed yourself into a new household, if you are going to get Covid-19 you have already passed the point of no return. Why would a longer period in such an environment be risky?

Don’t take our word for it but this is worth looking at a little more closely to see if any clarification is made in the rules which you would need to know about.

For my money I think the best answer is to buy all the Christmas goodies, ensure we have an extra good wine cellar and brandies and settle in front of the television and enjoy some good films and above all stay at home. Ah yes – what’s different from every other Christmas then?

Adrian Leopard 17-12-20

Photo Jamie Davies

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