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Home Secretary Priti Patel will lead a Downing Street press conference at 5pm today, January 21, to discuss the enforcement of COVID rules.
Patel will discuss how COVID rules and restrictions will be enforced after she faced several questions in recent weeks about enforcement, including lost information on hundreds of arrests in police databases.
The home secretary will be joined by Martin Hewitt, Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, and Dr Vin Diwakar, NHS England regional medical director for London.
The exact topics Patel will touch on is unclear, but many expect the main topic will be the firmer enforcement of safety measures. Given that the UK has the worst death rate per capita in the world, the government will likely want to make a statement that shows it is tackling the issue.
There have been plans to keep the UK in a national lockdown until the middle of February.
In recent weeks, the government has warned about the dangers that the new mutation of the coronavirus brings, and when discussing relaxing restrictions Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated during a press conference:
I think it’s too early to say when we’ll be able to lift some of the restrictions.
We’ll look then (February 15) at how we’re doing but I think what we’re seeing in the ONS data, in the React survey, we’re seeing the contagiousness of the new variant that we saw arrive just before Christmas – there’s no doubt it does spread very fast indeed.
It’s not more deadly but it is much more contagious and the numbers are very great.
There were 1,820 deaths and 38,905 positive cases recorded in the UK yesterday, and it is unlikely that the timeline for easing measures has been brought forward. With that in mind, many will now be concerned with what further measures will be introduced, and how they may be enforced.
Many have been hoping that the increasing number of vaccinations would lead to a greater amount of freedom, but it seems that lockdown measures alongside a vaccine rollout will be required for some time yet.
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