PUBLIC health experts are concerned about the Government’s plans to scale back Covid-19 restrictions during the festive period.

Whitehall sources indicated yesterday that an announcement was on the way, revealing lighter Covid-19 restrictions for Christmas.

The Government hopes for a more normal festive period where families can still meet.

But the news has been met with concern by public health experts. In a meeting of Cumbria County Council’s Health and Wellbeing board, public health director Colin Cox said: “Government I know is working on a four-nations approach to Christmas.

“Clearly they want to see what they can do to see people come together at Christmas. Does that bring about a third wave in the New Year? I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.”

He added that the Government would consider the number of cases before making a decision but that caution is needed.

“I think we need to be careful and think about the impact on our services.”

However, there were reasons for optimism as in an update on the county’s response to coronavirus the public health director revealed that Cumbria will soon see Lateral Flow Testing.

“Local authorities have been invited to express an interest, Cumbria has done so and we are working at pace to put plans in place.”

Work is also underway to prepare the county for vaccinations when any of the vaccines in development can be administered.

“The plans in place at the moment are required to be ready to go by December 1.”

He added that health bosses have hopes for the Pfizer vaccine, and jabs will begin at the earliest possible time during the first wave of vaccinations.

“The intention is that will primarily be led by primary care,” he said.

Mr Cox noted that following lockdown, a tier system will still be implemented in the UK.

“The Government has been very clear that it does intend to end lockdown on December 2. There will still be a tier system in place.”

Tiers will look similar to what the nation has seen previously and some regional restrictions may be close to lockdown.

“My hope and my optimistic expectation is that by the time we go into next winter things will look more normal.”