Political leaders have focused on the pandemic in their Christmas messages this year, and have thanked those that have worked to protect people from the virus.
In a video from Downing Street, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said;
“We know that things remain difficult. But for millions of families up and down the country, I hope and believe that this Christmas is and will be significantly better than the last, in this vital respect, that we can celebrate together with those we love and raise our glasses to those who can’t be with us.”
Mr Johnson added that people have been giving each other “an invisible and invaluable present” in the form of getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The Prime Minister urged people to get boosted, thanking both people working on vaccination campaigns and those looking after people who have lost loved ones and who would otherwise be on their own.
Leader of the Opposition, Sir Keir Starmer issued a “heartfelt thank you” to key workers across the country and abroad, and said that for too many families there will be one less chair at the table for Christmas meals this year.
In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that the vaccination campaign had been “a source of brightness during a really difficult month”, and she urged people across Scotland to get vaccinated. Ms Sturgeon also thanked people working over the festive period.
In Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford wished everyone a safe Christmas, saying the country would “once again draw on our deep tradition of working together to get through tough times”. Mr Drakeford thanked people “working around the clock to keep us safe”, saying “their dedication and service means so much to us all”.
Fewer coronavirus restrictions are in place in the UK than last Christmas, though rules are set to tighten in Scotland and Wales from Boxing Day. It remains unclear whether England could face new restrictions before the end of the year, with ministers said to be keeping up-to-date on Omicron data ‘hour-by-hour’ in recent days.