Covid could see Christmas CANCELLED across Europe as France, Germany and Ireland warn not to make plans to head home

THE coronavirus could see Christmas cancelled across Europe this year as leaders in France, Germany, and Ireland warn people not to make plans to travel home.

It comes as full or partial lockdowns remain in place in countries across the continent and with the festive season just six weeks away.

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Numerous countries were forced to reintroduce measures as the second wave of the pandemic got underway in September and October.

Each of France, Spain, and Italy has recorded a record daily rise in cases in recent weeks.

England's current lockdown is set to last until at least December 2, but there have been fears it will need to be extended.

Asked at a press conference on Thursday whether people could begin buying train tickets to travel home at Christmas, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said it was "a bit too early to say”.

“The pressure on our hospitals has intensified enormously," he said.

“It would be irresponsible to soften the lockdown now. The gains are fragile,” Castex said.

He said that one person was being hospitalised with the virus somewhere in France every 30 seconds.

In Germany, health minister Jens Spahn said it was "too early to tell" whether measures introduced at the start of this month would be enough to prevent a further spike in cases.

Yesterday, the country recorded 23,462 new cases, the largest rise in a 24-hour period since the start of the pandemic.

Bars and restaurants as well as cinemas, concert halls, and sports venues across Germany are currently required to remain closed.

"We never said that November would be so hard and then everything would be like before," Spahn said.

Bavarian premier Markus Soeder added: "If we just lower the numbers a little bit now and stop too soon, we might fall into a constant alternation of lockdown and opening.

"That would be hard for people to understand. Therefore, we have to continue with the treatment we have started until successful."


In Ireland, lockdown rules currently ban people from travelling more than three miles from their own homes, and all non-essential business have been closed.

Deputy head of government Leo Varadkar was asked this week whether restrictions could be eased to allow people abroad to return home for Christmas.

He said the country's infection rate was “very much going in the right direction” but there was a risk that, “as we get down to very low levels again, the country could be receded by people travelling in from overseas”. 

He said the associated risk with travel across the Irish border could be even higher.

“I think in terms of people booking flights for Christmas to come home, I’d advise them not to do that at the moment," he said.

“I know that’s difficult. I know that’s tough. But Christmas is six weeks away, and it’s too soon now I think for people to be booking flights to come home.”

Discussing England's current lockdown measures last week, Boris Johnson said "the advice I have received suggests that four weeks is enough for these measures to make a real impact".

"I have every confidence that…, if we follow this package of measures…,people will be able to have as normal a Christmas as possible and that we'll be able to get things open before Christmas as well," he said.

He added that the government planned to move back to a tiered system after December 2.

But speaking the following day, cabinet minister Michael Gove admitted that the lockdown may need to be extended beyond that date.

"We will always take a decision in the national interest, based on evidence," he said.

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