How to have a Covid-safe Christmas: medics answer your questions

Eufemia Didonato

The most wonderful time of the year has almost arrived, and families across the UK can ‘bubble’ with two other households on Christmas Day and for two days either side. Amid the ongoing pandemic, the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) has offered its advice for how to stay ‘Covid-safe’ while […]

The most wonderful time of the year has almost arrived, and families across the UK can ‘bubble’ with two other households on Christmas Day and for two days either side.

Amid the ongoing pandemic, the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM) has offered its advice for how to stay ‘Covid-safe’ while celebrating the festivities.

Here are their tips in response to key questions from members of the public about coronavirus and Christmas.

What can I do to protect myself this Christmas?

Dr Chris Van Tulleken, an infectious diseases doctor at University College London, told an event hosted by the RSM that the chance of catching Covid from someone you live with is “about 35 to 40 per cent”.

“What you have to do is remember that every little single thing you do to avoid catching this virus count,” he said. “So if we think of your standard day as like a game of Russian roulette but there are many, many chambers in the gun and you want as few bullets in the gun as possible.”

Christmas “shouldn’t mean you abandon everything else you do”, he added. Dr Van Tulleken’s advice is to continue handwashing, to keep a safe social distance as far as possible, and to wear masks where necessary.

Speaking at the same event, Dr Sarah Filson, an infectious diseases specialist at Northwick Park Hospital, insisted that “the disease doesn’t care about the fact it’s Christmas”.

Her advice if you have any symptoms is to “self-isolate and don’t see people”.

What can we do on Christmas Day to keep safe?

Ventilation, wearing masks wherever possible, and wiping down services are sure-fire ways to ensure the day itself is as safe as it can be, according to Dr Van Tulleken.

“Try to ventilate rooms and try to keep close contact down to a minimum,” he said.

“We’re going to be wearing masks indoors with my family indoors in my bubble for some of Christmas. I don’t want to get this virus and ideally I don’t want to get it ever.”

Dr Filson’s recommendation is to try and keep a safe social distance, meet people in well-ventilated areas, and to keep a safe distance.

“All of these little things, like washing your hands and wiping down surfaces, make the risk of transmission much smaller and that’s really important,” she said.

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