© Reuters. Drive-in carol service in Milton Keynes
© Reuters. Drive-in carol service in Milton Keynes

LONDON (Reuters) – Two of Britain’s most influential journals for healthcare and medical professionals jointly called on the government on Tuesday to scrap plans to relax COVID-19 restrictions for five days around Christmas or risk overwhelming the health service.

In what was only their second joint editorial in more than 100 years, the British Medical Journal and the Health Service Journal said the government should be tightening the rules rather than allowing three households to mix over five days.

“We believe the government is about to blunder into another major error that will cost many lives,” the editorial said.

“If our political leaders fail to take swift and decisive action, they can no longer claim to be ‘protecting the NHS,’” it added, referring to the government’s calls to the public since the pandemic started to protect the National Health Service.

The joint editorial came a day after the government announced that due to a surge in cases London would be moving up into “High Alert” level, the most restrictive of England’s tiered system of rules to try to contain the virus.

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