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The editors of two of the UK's most prestigious health journals have penned a joint statement slamming the govenrment's "rash" plan to ease Covid rules over Christmas and demanding the scheme be shelved before it is too late.
In a rare joint editorial the British Medical Journal and Health Service Journal called for the "rash" decision to relax social distancing measures over Christmas to be scrapped.
They said that the Government "is about to blunder into another major error that will cost many lives".
The warning, authored by HSJ editor Alastair McLellan and BMJ editor-in-chief Fiona Godlee said: "When Government devised the current plans to allow household mixing over Christmas it had assumed the Covid-19 demand on the NHS would be decreasing.
"But it is not, it is rising, and the emergence of a new strain of the virus has introduced further potential jeopardy.
"Members of the public can and should mitigate the impact of the third wave by being as careful as possible over the next few months. But many will see the lifting of restrictions over Christmas as permission to drop their guard.
"The Government was too slow to introduce restrictions in the spring and again in the autumn.
"It should now reverse its rash decision to allow household mixing and instead extend the tiers over the five-day Christmas period in order to bring numbers down in the advance of a likely third wave."
New coronavirus variant 'highly likely' to respond to vaccine says Matt Hancock
On Monday, Matt Hancock revealed that a new variant of coronavirus is spreading in the UK.
Over 1,000 cases of the virus variant have been identified in England in the past few days, primarily in the south of the country.
Mr Hancock added that there's no suggestion this variant causes a more serious illness, or that it won't respond to treatment and the Covid vaccines that are currently being rolled out.
The World Health Organisation has been notified of the new strain.
The alarming news came as Mr Hancock was speaking in the House of Commons to confirm that London, as well as parts of Essex and Hertfordshire, will be moving into Tier 3.
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