Stringent COVID Rules As Christmas Approaches

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People fear having their Christmas plans scuppered for a second year amid concern over the Covid variant Omicron, reports BBC.

The new rules

Wales’ coronavirus rules are now being reviewed weekly instead of every three weeks in response to the new variant.

The organiser of a group Christmas Day lunch to combat loneliness said those attending would be “devastated” if it was cancelled by new restrictions.

About 50 international students in Vale of Glamorgan who are unable to travel home will stay on campus for Christmas.

Wales’ Health Minister Eluned Morgan has said it is too early to say if there will be festive restrictions.

But the Welsh government has urged people to take lateral flow tests before going shopping, to Christmas parties or visiting others, and extended guidance on mask-wearing to pubs and restaurants, when people are not eating.

Last year, plans to relax Covid rules from 23 to 27 December to allow people to meet loved ones were scrapped with just a few days’ notice.

Instead, only two households were allowed to meet on Christmas Day only.

While there is no official guidance telling people to cancel party plans, health officials at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board have urged people not to attend parties, after huge demand at A&E departments.

Cancelling ‘would be devastating’

Since 2012, councillor Guy Woodham has run an annual Christmas Day lunch in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, for about 100 people who would otherwise spend the day alone.

He was forced to cancel Christmas Together for the first time last year.

This year the event is going ahead but with numbers reduced to 30 and all attending must be double-vaccinated, wear masks when not seated at the table and social distance where possible.

He said some who had attended in previous years had decided “despite being lonely they actually would feel safer just staying at home for Christmas”.

He is hoping new restrictions will not be introduced that force him to cancel: “It would be devastating if there was an announcement that we couldn’t gather on Christmas Day, but we would have to respect that.

“It would be devastating for me, for those involved, and especially those people who made it clear that they don’t want to be alone on Christmas Day for very valid personal reasons.

Ammanford Evangelical Church in Carmarthenshire has put on an annual Christmas Day lunch for those who would otherwise be alone or unable to afford a traditional Christmas for more than 20 years.

Its in-person event is off for a second Christmas and volunteers will instead be delivering meals cooked by a local pub.

Pastor Sammy Davies said: “People are definitely missing out on spending time together.

“I’ve actually been surprised how many people have got in touch hoping and expecting it to be in-person again his year… wanting to see each other physically again… so I think that desire is there.”

He said people receiving meals would still have some “human contact” on Christmas Day, and volunteers had been encouraged to take time to talk on people’s doorsteps.

He said people had learnt to adapt: “I think people have become robust and are just dealing with it and grasping opportunities when they come, and being grateful even for the small things that we can do for each other too.”

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Source: BBC

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