Priti Patel to give Covid press conference tonight as police step up enforcing fines
PRITI Patel will give a press conference at 5pm tonight as police step up enforcing coronavirus fines.
The Home Secretary will address the nation alongside Martin Hewitt, Chair of the National Police Chiefs Council, as well as Dr Vin Diwakar, Regional Medical Director for London.
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She will press the Government's message that the nation must stick by the rules to get Covid cases down again, after days of the numbers soaring.
Priti Patel hasn't given a No10 press conference since last May.
This week ministers are stepping up enforcement of the rules, with Met Chief Cressida Dick saying it's not acceptable for people not to be following the rules anymore.
This morning she said police will be quicker to fine people for breaking lockdown laws.
She revealed the Met had dished out 300 fines in the last 24 hours alone as the message was ramped up.
And people were still found to be holding illegal parties, playing poker in basements and hosting other gatherings during the strict lockdown.
Officers stop people on the street and ask them where they are going and why they have left their home.
Dame Cressida also blasted Covid lockdown rule breakers who hold parties, meet in basements to gamble or attend unlicensed raves.
Britain's top cop slammed a "small minority" who "flagrantly ignore the rules".
It comes after Derbyshire Police apologised and scrapped £200 fines handed to two women who had driven five miles to go for a walk.
It came as:
- Policing minister Kit Malthouse admitted it was legal to get a take-away coffee as part of your exercise
- Cressida Dick backed Boris Johnson for taking a bike ride seven miles from home – but called on Government to define what "local" was
- Ministers called for all supermarkets to enforce mask rules – as Sainsbury's said it would hire security guards to do so
Today Boris Johnson will hold a Cabinet meeting of his top team this morning as he considers whether to implement tougher lockdown rules to try and curb Covid case numbers.
The PM will gather his ministers for a discussion of the latest figures and impact of the national lockdown, which was announced just last Monday.
Shops, schools and sports facilities were shut across England, with people told to stay at home once again – at least until the middle of February.
But case numbers have continued to rise – partly because of people being allowed to mix between households over Christmas, and over the new super-spreading Covid strain.
Hospitals are under significant pressure, and could be overwhelmed within a fortnight, NHS bosses have said.
Government are considering what else might be needed to stop the spread of the virus – though no changes are expected to be imminent.
Ministers want to wait to see the impact of the latest moves first before making any further decisions.
But No10 has said all strategies and restrictions remain under constant review.
Brits were last night cautioned against going for takeaway coffees — amid warnings two pals meeting up will be outlawed if people continue to “flex” the rules.
Police leaders have demanded for clarification on the "woolly" rules on staying local.
Chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation Brian Booth said: "The guidance is that you should be local in your own community near where you live but people are far exceeding that.
"Officers have no power in law to deal with it, so it is a bit of a nonsense really.
"The guidance is people's moral judgement, should they be doing it, but with regard to policing it – it's impossible."
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