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PA Andrew Matthews
PA Andrew Matthews
UK News

1.7 million people expected to spend Christmas alone, new poll reveals

At least 1.7 million people are expected to spend Christmas Day alone according to a new poll by The Observer.

In a 'normal´ year, the figure would usually be around four per cent of the UK. However, this year, because of the pandemic, the number is expected to be as high as eight per cent. 

The issue is particularly severe among adults aged 64 and over. Louise Morse from The Pilgrims Friend Society said this Christmas will be "very difficult and very dark" for the elderly, especially for those aged over 80 and others who suffer from chronic disabilities. 

Only 23 per cent of adults surveyed said they will spend Christmas with their parents this year compared to 35 per cent last year. 

Last month, Health Secretary Matt Hancock promised a flagship government testing scheme to be rolled out in care homes across England to allow visitors during the Christmas season, but this hasn't reached all care homes yet. Louise Morse believes that getting fast testing in care homes will help reduce isolation. 

"If we can get hold of [the test] before Christmas, that would be wonderful," she said. "Within 35 minutes, it will tell you if you're positive or not…because this virus produces [many] asymptomatic people." 

Morse wants to encourage Christians to get involved with campaigns to combat loneliness and to be proactively engaging with neighbours or people around us that might be feeling lonely. 

"It's finding out what's already there, so you can take advantage of it and pray," she said. "Prayer is so powerful; we forget that when we come up with our human tactics. Pray about it. Pray that the vaccine will come quickly. Pray that the fast test will be here from Liverpool, so we'll know within 35 minutes whether or not [we are positive] because people want to touch each other this Christmas. They want to hug."

A national campaign to combat loneliness backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury will start on 14th December and will run until 18th January.

Christmas Together calls on the public to reach out to someone and to sign up to bring Christmas cheer as an NHS Volunteer Responder.

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