The month-long national lockdown may not be enough to save Christmas, scientists have warned.
If the country returns to the tiered system again after December 2, the rate of infection would go back to the levels seen at the start of the month, according to newly released SAGE documents.
They also say families will only be able to gather together at Christmas if the R rate stays below one for ‘some time’.
The papers were put together by the Government’s scientific advisors on November 4 – the day before the latest lockdown began.
Non-essential businesses have been shut since November 5 and people have been told to stay at home except for essential journeys.
Boris Johnson has promised the country will come out of lockdown again at the start of December and resort back to the regional approach he introduced in October.
But his advisors appear to be cautioning against this. The document said: ‘If England returns to the same application of the tiering system in place before November 5, then transmission will return to the same rate of increase as today.’
Other papers from late October suggested that in a scenario where prevalence of infections is ‘low and controlled’, and where NHS Test and Trace ‘can play a big role in containing outbreaks’, there is scope for a loosening of social distancing rules over Christmas for a ‘limited time’.