- The Cabinet Office refused to deny that the draconian new laws were incoming after UK’s streets were busy
- They instead pointed to Matt Hancock’s vague statement on rules earlier today: ‘Follow the rules we’ve got’
- Hancock refused to speculate when asked if harsher measures coming, such as curfews and closing nurseries
- Whitehall source said potential changes included introducing ban on people leaving their homes more than once a week
Boris Johnson met cabinet colleagues last night to discuss an even-tougher lockdown with limits on exercise, compulsory mask-wearing outdoors and a ban on social bubbles all being considered by ministers, sources claim.
The Cabinet Office refused to deny that draconian new laws were coming – and instead pointed to Matt Hancock’s vague statement earlier today.
The Health Secretary refused to speculate when directly asked if harsher measures – including curfews and nursery closures – might be brought in, and instead said Britons should ‘follow the rules that we’ve got’.
One Whitehall source told MailOnline that the changes discussed today even included introducing a ban on people leaving their homes more than once a week. Under current rules, Britons can exercise with one other person or with their household or support bubble.
But a Government source said the rule is ‘being used as an excuse for people to go for a coffee in the park with their friends’ and could be tightened, The Daily Telegraph reports.
The UK announced a further 573 coronavirus deaths yesterday in the highest Sunday rise since April, and the third-deadliest Sunday of the entire pandemic as it emerged as many as one in five of all people in England may have had coronavirus, new modelling by Edge Health claims. It could be as high as one in two people in some areas of east London and Essex, the research says.
Infections also continue to be high, with 54,940 announced on Sunday – the thirteenth day in a row they have been above the 50,000 mark.
Crowds of people were seen flocking to beaches and town centres today despite Boris Johnson’s pleas for families to stay at home as coronavirus hospital deaths hit 563 – the highest Sunday toll in eight months. Pictured: Visitors on Tynemouth Longsands beach
Big crowds were seen walking through Victoria Park in east London yesterday
Boris Johnson (pictured) held a meeting to discuss an even-tougher lockdown with limits on exercise, compulsory mask-wearing outdoors and no more social bubbles all being floated by ministers, sources claim
The source said the two-person from 2-households ‘rule is there for exercise, for people’s mental health, particularly for older people who are not going to be going for a run to see someone’.
But many are using their ‘imaginations’ to make it what they want.
Their concerns came as hordes of people were seen flocking to beaches and town centres over the weekend – despite Boris Johnson’s pleas for families to stay at home and help control the mutant Covid variant spreading rapidly through the country.
Officials are also set to encourage shops and workplaces to improve on their social distancing.
Supermarkets will be a key focus of the Government’s latest push, with many worried that lax enforcement of the rules means shoppers are at risk.
Tougher punishment for rule breakers is also being considered.
A senior Government science advisor yesterday said it would become clear whether the current lockdown was lowering the spread of coronavirus cases – with deaths now above 80,000 – within a fortnight.
Professor Peter Horby, the chairman of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG), said: ‘If there’s any sign that they’re not then we’re going to have to be even stricter, I’m afraid.’
The UK announced a further 573 coronavirus deaths on Sunday, the highest Sunday figure since April.
Mr Hancock appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Programme yesterday morning, where he was asked about a range of measures that could be brought in.
Mr Marr asked: ‘Are you considering things like curfews, closing nurseries, ending some of those support bubbles, going back to only an hour of exercise outside and telling people in crowded outdoor spaces to wear masks? Are those the kind of things that you could consider if you don’t get this under control very quickly?’
But Mr Hancock replied: ‘Well, 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’ve got. ‘