Express.co.uk readers can vote in our poll on whether the national lockdown should be made more draconian. Ministers are reportedly considering tig
Express.co.uk readers can vote in our poll on whether the national lockdown should be made more draconian. Ministers are reportedly considering tighter coronavirus restrictions amid fears the current measures are not being followed strictly enough.
The Prime Minister met senior ministers on Sunday to discuss whether the lockdown rules were working in reducing the spike of coronavirus cases.
Tougher restrictions could involve banning support bubbles, face masks being required outside and a limit on daily exercise.
The exemption allowing people to exercise with one person from another household could also be scrapped.
A Government source told the Daily Telegraph that the allowance was “being used as an excuse for people to go for a coffee in the park with their friends”, adding: “It may be we tighten up on things like that.”
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi today urged the public to follow the rules.
He told Sky News: “We are concerned that, for example, in supermarkets, we need to make sure people actually wear masks and follow the one-way system rule, and when they are at capacity to operate safely for people to wait outside supermarkets.
“We don’t want to go any tougher because this is a pretty tough lockdown, but what we need is people to behave as if they’ve got the virus so we can bring this virus under control whilst we vaccinate.”
Meanwhile, England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty warned the UK is at its worst point in the epidemic.
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The number of coronavirus patients in hospital is at a record high in England, while the official death toll for the UK passed 80,000 on Saturday and confirmed cases hit more than three million.
Prof Whitty told BBC Breakfast: “We will get through together, but at this point in time we’re at the worst point in the epidemic for for the UK.
“There are always going to be noises of people coming up with absurd theories, and suggestions of things that are either obviously not true, or a misunderstanding of what’s going on.
“But I think anybody who looks at some of the reports that the BBC and other news outlets done from hospitals, anyone who talks to a doctor or a nurse, working in the NHS, anybody who actually reads any newspaper, they will know this is a really serious problem – this is not a typical winter.
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“Every winter there are problems. This is in a completely different league.”
When asked about the prospect of stricter measures on Sunday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I don’t want to speculate because the most important message is not whether the Government will further strengthen the rules.
“The most important thing is that people stay at home and follow the rules that we have got.”
Mr Hancock said the “majority are following the rules” but warned that just one slip-up could cost lives.
He told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “Every flexibility can be fatal… this virus is so contagious it passes on and as we’ve seen it’s deadly.”
Some experts have warned the current lockdown measures are not strict enough in the face of the more transmissible variant of coronavirus.
Professor Peter Horby, who chairs the Government’s new and emerging respiratory virus threats advisory group (Nervtag), said the new strain has made the situation “more risky” and “we’re going to have to be even stricter” if the infection rate does not decrease.
The UK reported a further 54,940 cases on Sunday.