BARNSLEY’S director of public health remains ‘very worried’ that relaxed Christmas measures will result in more hospitalisations - and deaths - next month.

Families have been given the green light to mix indoors for a four-day period from December 23 - but public health boss Julia Burrows has warned residents to err on the side of caution.

She said: “This is not a passport to a virus-free Christmas with family and friends.

“Our numbers are still too high, and we need to keep the reducing trend going.

“Many of us are very worried about the impact of increased social mixing at Christmas and what it will mean for hospitalisations and, tragically, people dying in January.”