Professor Emer Shelley, the dean of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, said travel restrictions would not apply to Father Christmas and he can visit as usual, even if people have to have smaller family gatherings.
âEverybody is asleep when Santa Claus calls, so heâs not going to come across anybody when he travels all around the world from Lapland,â she told ITVâs Good Morning Britain programme.
âSecondly, he travels so quickly that even if a part of his entourage were to have the virus attached to them, there is no risk of transmitting the virus to anybody â¦ so at least thatâs some good news on the public health front.â
Prof Shelley did, however, warn that if Santa were to catch Covid-19 he would be at high risk of serious illness because of his weight.
âHeâs not exactly thin,â she said.
âIf he were having a medical exam, he would be considered clinically obese and that puts him at high risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.
âAnd so if he were to catch Covid, then he would be at risk of getting a very serious version of it and being admitted to intensive care.
âThat was a real worry when discussing this with colleagues.â
Risk assessment considered travel but also Santa's weight, with risk of diabetes etc, so high risk of serious illness if he caught COVID-19. Thankfully, public health & infectious disease experts will likely agree that Santa 'as usual' is low risk this Christmas. @CillianDeGascun https://t.co/AvShhYvGod
— Emer Shelley (@EmerShelley) October 29, 2020
Pressure is mounting on government to agree a common stance for the festive season across all four nations â with some travel across borders âinevitableâ â to allow families to make plans.
Cabinet ministers also appeared to be confused about Christmas gatherings on Thursday after one urged families to abandon their hopes, while another insisted spending time with relatives on Christmas Day was still likely.