U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday assured British children that Santa Claus would still be delivering presents this Christmas, despite the COVID-19 crisis -- a day after the U.K. announced special measures to keep holiday celebrations intact this year.
“Monti (aged 8) wrote to me asking if Father Christmas will be able to deliver presents this year,” Johnson said on Twitter. Santa Claus is commonly referred to as “Father Christmas” in the U.K.
“I've had lots of letters about this, so I have spoken with experts and can assure you that Father Christmas will be packing his sleigh and delivering presents this Christmas!” he said.
Monti had asked the Tory prime minister if the jolly red gift-giver could deliver if they provided hand sanitizer next to the cookies, and asked Johnson to talk to scientists about it.
In his written response on Downing Street letterhead, Johnson said he had put in a call to the North Pole and had learned that Santa is “ready and raring to go, as are Rudolph and all of the other reindeer.”
“Leaving hand sanitizer by the cookies is an excellent idea to help prevent the spread of the virus -- and using it yourself, and washing your hands regularly, is exactly the kind of thing that will get you and your friends on the nice list,” he said.
His guidance is in line with that of top medical experts across the globe. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading disease expert in the United States, told USA Today last week that Santa won't be spreading COVID at Christmastime.
"Santa is exempt from this because Santa, of all the good qualities, has a lot of good innate immunity," he said.
The update from Johnson comes a day after the government announced that Brits will be allowed to form a Christmas “bubble” consisting of people from three households as part of a relaxation of rules to allow Christmas celebrations to continue in some form.
The rules announced by the government say that Brits can be part of one bubble of three households and cannot change that bubble. They will only be allowed to meet in private homes, places of worship and outdoor spaces. The rules will be in place between Dec. 23 and Dec. 27.
"'Tis the season to be jolly, but 'tis also the season to be jolly careful," Johnson said in a video statement.