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Scottish Catholic Bishop to call for a 'Christmas ceasefire' over coronavirus restrictions

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Facebook: Bishop John Keenan

The Bishop of Paisley has urged the Scottish government to implement a 24-hour lifting of restrictions on gatherings and celebrations over Christmas day.

In a letter to The Sunday Times, Bishop John Keenan compared the idea to the Christmas Day truce during World War I and said he hoped for “some kind of family Christmas".

“Perhaps we should consider a Christmas ‘circuit breaker’. A 24-hour lifting of restrictions on gatherings and celebrations, a break in the war on Covid, just like the pause in the First World War on the Western Front in 1914, when the British and German troops laid down their guns and met in no man’s land to celebrate Christmas” Keenan added.

It comes after Scotland’s National Clinical Director, Jason Leitch, said Scots should prepare for a “digital Christmas”.

The Scottish government had said that decisions on introducing additional protective measures will be guided by the latest available scientific and clinical evidence.

“The more we do now to suppress transmission of the virus, the more likely we will have fewer restrictions in place at Christmas,” the Scottish government said.

For Bishop Keenan, a strict lockdown at Christmas would be extremely damaging for morale.

“Hope is perhaps the most precious commodity we possess," he said. "Without it we will fail to combat this pandemic, we will fail to care for ourselves and for others and we will fail to build a future for the next generation growing up in the midst of fear.

“Couldn’t we allow for one day of normality in the midst of our relentless war against the virus? Think of the hope and happiness that would give. A moment of joy in the midst of so much despair.”

Following the recent rise in positive coronavirus cases in Scotland, on Friday First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a new five-level system.

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