Christmas COVID-19 restrictions are not being changed (in principle), however, the PM has urged us all to “think hard” and take “personal responsibility”, before deciding our own festive plans, Dr Joe Pajak writes.


First published in December 2020.


Have yourself a merry little Christmas!

In his live press briefing just after 3.30pm this afternoon, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned us all that “a smaller Christmas is going to be a safer Christmas”, while also urging us all to see festive bubbles of three households as “maximums” and not “targets to aim for”.

Having said the Covid-19 rules are staying the same, as the Guardian reports, it appears that the four nations are actually split on exact guidance.

LBC reports a similar view, “The UK’s Christmas plan has been thrown into chaos with Boris Johnson at odds with Scotland and Wales over festive coronavirus guidance.”

So, what is the situation? And, where is all the real practical advice? Better still, where is the sense of direction, of instruction, of political leadership? Hasn’t this government learned anything from its past litany of misjudgements?  

Boris Johnson. | Flickr - Number 10
Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning that “a smaller Christmas is going to be a safer Christmas”.

Promising ‘jam’ tomorrow, for Christmas, back in November was a careless policy – the virus is very much with us, escalating in pace and in its impact on health and care services, schools, and local communities.

The government appears to have given up any pretence of making the tough decisions. Intent more on playing to the electorate.   While senior Government scientists are looking ever more uncomfortable in their attempt to balance the desire of their political masters, together with their personal professionalism.

Should the PM be telling us to take personal responsibility for our behaviour during the 5 days over Christmas when he and his government appear not to take personal and political responsibility for the impact of their ‘sitting on the (Covid-19 Christmas) fence’   to avoid upsetting those who disagree with any form of Covid-19 restrictions? Should we follow the law, or follow the guidance?

Today’s data in focus

Today’s data indicates the horrible fact that a further 612 people have lost their lives in the last 24 hours in the UK, while the number of deaths in the last 14 days is at 5,837.

Note: The data for deaths attributed to Covid-19, each following a reported positive test result for Covid-19 within 28 days of their death.

Today’s Government data indicate that there have been 254,025 new cases reported in the past 14 days, around 20% more than the 14-day figures reported a week ago on 9 December.

Today’s trendline chart, and headline UK Covid-19 data, are provided below:

UK Covid-19 headline data, reported on 16 December 2020:

  • 25,161 further positive tests
  • 612 further deaths in the last 24 hours
  • 1,770 further hospital admissions (reported as of 12/12)
  • 18,038 hospital in-patients in total (reported as of 14/12)
  • 1,326 patients on ventilation beds (reported as of 15/12)

321 days after the first case was reported in the UK, 1,913,277 cases have been reported, together with 65,520 deaths. However, these data include only those who have died within 28 days of testing positive; other measures suggest the number of deaths is higher: 76,287 being reported as “the total number of deaths of people whose death certificate mentioned Covid-19 as one of the causes, registered up to Friday, 4 December 2020.”🔷


Data source:



Dr Joe Pajak, Professional experience applied scientific research and development, then director of a national children’s charity, trustee of a disability charity, and governor of NHS foundation trust hospitals.





[This piece was first published in PMP Magazine on 16 December 2020. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

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