Coronavirus cases in the UK remain at worrying levels, and the latest legislation for the third national lockdown allows for measures to remain in
Coronavirus cases in the UK remain at worrying levels, and the latest legislation for the third national lockdown allows for measures to remain in place until the end of March. The vaccine rollout programme is underway, but before everyone has been vaccinated the Government is urging people to stick to the current lockdown rules to get the rate of Covid transmission down in the UK.
On January 10, the UK reported a staggering 54,940 cases of Covid-19, and 563 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has urged people to “stay at home unless you absolutely have to”.
Professor Whitty has also warned the next few weeks will be the “worst weeks of the pandemic” as Covid cases continue to mount.
He said today: “What we need to do before the vaccines have had their effect… is we need to really double down: this is everybody’s problem.
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“Any single unnecessary contact you have with someone is a potential link in a chain of transmission that will lead to a vulnerable person.
“We’ve all got to as individuals help the NHS, help our fellow citizens by minimising the amount of unnecessary contacts we have.”
The Government is also facing calls to review lockdown restrictions from political opponents.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “So we’re in this extraordinary situation where having got to at least as serious if not a more serious position than of March last year, we’ve got lesser restrictions in place and we need those in place as quickly as possible.
“I do think that the vast majority of the public are complying with the rules.”
Leaving home for exercise is also one of the few permitted reasons someone can currently leave their home.
The Government is currently allowing one person to meet with another person from outside their household in a public outdoor setting, but there has been suggestions this rule could be scrapped.
Reports suggest the Government is concerned people are using the rule of meeting one person outside as cause to socialise.
A Government source is said to have told the 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.”
The Times reported supermarket bosses may soon be briefed to get tougher with enforcing social distancing rules in stores.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has raised concerns that people are not complying with lockdown rules closely enough.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We don’t want to use tougher measures, the lockdown is tough, schools are shut, but it is important to remember this virus loves social interactions.
“We’re reviewing all the restrictions, but these are pretty tough at the moment.
“I am worried about supermarkets and people actually wearing masks and following the one-way system and making sure when it’s at capacity they wait outside the supermarket.
“I’m worried about some of the pictures I’ve seen of social interactions in parks, if you have to exercise you can go out for exercise only.”
There may be stricter enforcement of face covering use inside public spaces, such as in supermarkets.
Some reports have also indicated the use of face coverings could become mandatory in busy outdoor spaces.