What do the new coronavirus Christmas restrictions announced on 19 December mean for people with pancreatic cancer?

Specialist nurse, Nicci, talks about the latest government advice on Christmas across the UK.

21 December 2020

Hi, I’m Nicci, one of the Support Line nurses at Pancreatic Cancer UK.

The government changed its advice about Christmas across the UK on 19 December. I’ll explain what these changes mean for people with pancreatic cancer.

If you live in Tier 1, 2 or 3 in England, or in Scotland, you can meet indoors or outdoors with two other households on Christmas Day only (25 December 2020). In Wales, you can meet one other household on Christmas Day. In Northern Ireland, you can meet with two other households on one day only between 23 and 27 December. You may hear this arrangement called a “Christmas bubble”. If you are in a support bubble or extended household, this counts as one household. You should not stay overnight. In Scotland, a maximum of 8 people from 3 households can meet.

If you live in the new Tier 4 in England, shielding has now been started again. You should not meet anyone you don’t live with or aren’t in a support bubble with over the Christmas period. You should stay at home, and follow the guidance for Tier 4. Read more about shielding and about Christmas on the GOV.UK website. If this affects you, this may be a particularly worrying time, and you can speak to us specialist nurses on our Support Line over the Christmas period if you want to.

We have more information about the current restrictions and what they mean for people with pancreatic cancer.

If you do live in an area where you are allowed to meet others on Christmas Day and are at higher risk from coronavirus, think very carefully about what you do on Christmas Day. The best way to stay safe is to spend Christmas with your household. If you do decide to meet with others, try to keep numbers small – the fewer people you see, the lower the chance of catching coronavirus. Try to maintain social distancing, keeping 2 metres away from those you don’t live with, and wash your hands and surfaces regularly. Try to make sure there is good ventilation by opening windows. We know these decisions are very difficult to make. Talk to your family and friends about what feels right for you. Read the government advice for people at higher risk on the GOV.UK website. We also have some tips on how to stay safe on our blog.

Christmas is a special time for many, and it’s natural to want to spend it with people close to you. It will probably be upsetting if you’re not able to see those close to you over Christmas, especially after such a difficult year. Think about other ways you can speak to them – for example on the phone or video calls such as Zoom or Skype. You could plan an activity to do on a video call – for example, you could open presents together or do a Christmas quiz. And if you are allowed to, depending on where you live you could plan to meet up outside – for example to go for a walk together.

We know things might feel hard this Christmas. If you want to speak to our specialist nurses for emotional support, our Support Line is open every day over Christmas from 10am-2pm (except the bank holidays).

Take care, and we hope you have a safe and peaceful Christmas