Public health expert Dr Gabriel Scally has said that the Irish and UK governments should ask families to postpone family gatherings this Christmas to the summer solstice in June.

Public health expert Dr Gabriel Scally has said that the Irish and UK governments should ask families to postpone family gatherings this Christmas to the summer solstice in June.
As an incentive for people to keep their distance from families over the coming holiday period, he said two extra bank holidays should be offered in June 2021.
By then, he said, the vaccine rollout will have helped enormously.
Dr Scally, who is the President of Epidemiology & Public Health at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, also said he really worries about what will happen over the coming weeks, saying there has been little discussion about travel.
Travel spreads the virus, he said, and ports and airports are really important.
The World Health Organization in Europe has urged families to wear face masks during this year’s Christmas gatherings, as it warned about concerns for early 2021.
“There is a high risk of further resurgence in the first weeks and months of 2021, and we will need to work together if we are to succeed in preventing it,” the organisation said in a statement.
It said that while it may feel awkward to wear masks around family members, “doing so contributes significantly to ensuring that everyone remains safe and healthy.”
Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, Dr Scally also reiterated his call for an all-island approach to the pandemic.
He said Northern Ireland should never have lifted all the restrictions that were in place, saying it was “a crazy thing to do”.
The Stormont Executive must move to close restaurants and bars, restrict shopping and tell people that there will not be a “five day free for all” over Christmas, he added.
If politicians cannot sort themselves out, he said, then “they’re lost in the North”.
He said you cannot have political divisions getting in the way of tackling the virus and this is what is happening in the North and must stop.
There must be a unified, preventative approach, rather than the current reactive one, he said.
He pointed out that bed occupancy in Northern Ireland is far higher now than it was at the height of the pandemic but bars, restaurants and shops are open.
Dr Scally said it is an appalling way to ignore the spread of the virus and the mounting death toll in Northern Ireland.
He said he is lost for words at how badly the situation is being managed.