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Tory minister admits Christmas lockdown measures will ‘drive Covid infection rates higher’

Cabinet minister Robert Jenrick (L) with Sky News' Kay Burley - Credit: Twitter

Robert Jenrick has admitted the government’s Christmas lockdown measures could “drive” a rise in Covid infection rates across England.

The minister for communities and housing said he expected to see coronavirus rates increase after the Christmas break.

Downing Street announced that “bubbles” of three households could meet indoors over a five-day period during Christmas in sweeping changes to England’ lockdown rules promoted by the prime minister earlier this week.

But some have expressed concerns the loosening of restrictions could lead to another spike in Covid cases, and potentially a second nationwide lockdown.

Asked on Sky News whether areas could move out of their designated tiers by Christmas, Jenrick said: “It is possible. There will be a review point in 14 days time, around December 16.

“At that point, we’ll be advised by the experts and look at each local area in the country and see if they should remain in their existing tier or if there is potential to move down the tiers.”

He added: “We’ve also got to keep in mind there will be an opening over the Christmas period which is likely to drive some higher rates of infection as some people choose to meet family and friends.”

Jenrick said the government hoped their measures over Christmas would help areas “hold the line” and allow them to enter a period of “de-escalation”.

He continued: “We don’t want to ease up too quickly to then have to put another lockdown in place in January.”

MORE: Commons speaker delivers blistering attack on government following leak of latest lockdown information

In response, Jerry Pennington tweeted: “Of course it is and it will, without doubt, result in more deaths. For what?”

One user posted: “Feels like the equivalent of saying to children: ‘If you’re good Santa will come’. WE ARE NO FECKING CHILDREN.”

Another sadly quipped: “Back in full lockdown by the end of January…”