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It's simply "too early to say" if Brits will be able to celebrate Christmas with their loved ones, a cabinet minister has said.
Strict social distancing measures are likely to be in place across much of the country by late December as coronavirus cases show no signs of slowing down.
Environment Secretary George Eustice warned that this festive season is unlikely to resemble anything we've seen before, but that the Government doesn't yet know exactly what it will look like.
"The Prime Minister has been very clear, as we all are, that we want people to celebrate Christmas in a way that is as close to normal as possible," he told Sky News on Wednesday morning.
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"But it is too early to be able to say exactly what the situation will be come Christmas, and exactly what different parts of the country will or will not be able to do.
"Obviously checking the spread of this virus is paramount, but alongside that we want people to live their lives as close to normal as possible, including at Christmas which is an incredibly important time for families."
The three-tiered Local Covid Alert Levels system, introduced earlier this month, is unlikely to have been lifted in much of Britain by December 25.
Yesterday it was reported that Boris Johnson has been warned all of England must be under severe Tier 3 lockdown by mid-December.
Tier 3 prohibits household mixing, dashing hopes for family reunions for millions of people.
The Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies reportedly predict coronavirus cases across the country will soon have succeeded the levels in areas already in the highest category.
With the group's latest modelling suggesting 25,000 people will be in hospital by the end of next month, exceeding the amount during the pandemic's peak in April.
In comparison, 9,199 Covid-19 patients were in England's hospital on Tuesday – while the UK saw its highest daily death toll since May 27 with 367 fatalities.
Around 200 deaths each day have been put down to the virus in Britain over the last week, a figure the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said wouldn't be reached until the middle of November.
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