Boris Johnson warns Christmas is the season ‘to be jolly careful’ this year

Boris Johnson has warned that this year, Christmas is the season "to be jolly careful" as he advised against over-optimism with England looking to exit a second national coronavirus lockdown.

Nationwide restrictions in England are due to end on December 2 but many areas of the country will be placed into tougher tiers than they were in before the blanket lockdown was introduced on November 5.

But the Prime Minister is hopeful Easter can be targeted for a return to normality after Monday's breakthrough with the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

He prepared the public for difficult months ahead before the "cavalry" of science comes to the rescue and finally ends the crisis.

Mr Johnson said: "Many more places will be in higher tiers than also was previously the case.

"'Tis the season to be jolly, but it is also the season to be jolly careful, especially with elderly relatives."

The Prime Minister announced the Christmas shopping is set to be saved while retail and gyms can reopen in all tiers.

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There is also the possibility of small family festive gatherings and a limited number of spectators will be allowed in to watch professional sports in the two lower levels.

But pubs and restaurants claim they will be left counting the cost with "devastating restrictions", sparking warnings that more than 70% of hospitality firms could go under.

The unpopular 10pm curfew is being modified with venues now kicking out an hour later, giving punters an extra hour to finish their food and drinks.

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The industry has branded it "reopening in name only" with alcohol sales only allowed with meals in tier two and takeaway service only in the highest bracket.

Mr Johnson declared that the new curbs will be "redundant" and expire by law by the end of March when there is increasing hope that effective vaccines will be in circulation.

He said: "We have turned a corner and the escape route is in sight."

The Prime Minister claimed the "whole concept" of the coronavirus lockdown should be unnecessary by the spring, but warned: "We are not there yet."

This news comes after Oxford University and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca announced their jab is up to 90% effective, with the UK already ordering 100 million doses of the vaccine – enough to immunise almost the whole country.

The government is hoping to roll it out starting next month.

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