COVID-19: Additional police officers deployed to stop non-essential level 4 travel after Londoners flee from capital | UK News

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Additional police officers are being deployed to train stations to prevent people from making non-essential Level 4 journeys after passengers crowd onto trains in London to escape tightening COVID-19 restrictions.

Large numbers of people were seen leaving the capital yesterday following the announcement of new Level 4 measures.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Sunday that UK Transport Police would have an increased presence after the chaotic scenes on Saturday night.

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He said: “Additional construction workers are being deployed to ensure that only those who need to make essential trips can travel safely. ”

Mr Shapps added: “If you are at level 4, the law means you must stay at home and you cannot spend the night away from home. In the rest of the country, you have to stay local. ”

Christmas Transport Czar Sir Peter Hendry said: “At stations we will deploy additional staff, announcements will make the law clear and additional construction workers are in place to ensure that only essential travel takes place.

“People who are considering driving should also stay home or stay local. ”

Earlier Mr Hancock let out a deep sigh and shook his head when asked about footage of a busy St Pancras station by Sky’s Sophy Ridge.

He said: “It was clearly totally irresponsible behavior, the chief medical officer [Professor Chris Whitty] was absolutely clear that people would have to unpack their bags if they had packed them.

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Matt Hancock responds to crowded London station

“I think these are relatively small numbers, and the vast majority of people throughout this pandemic have followed the rules and been responsible and played their part and I want to thank everyone for that. ”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show whether police could prevent families from leaving Level 4 areas to visit relatives, Mr Hancock said police would follow the new laws.

Fears over a new strain of coronavirus prompted the Prime Minister to announce yesterday that all of those previously Tier 3 areas in the South East – including London – would move to the new Tier 4 today.

This means the closure of non-essential stores, gyms and hairdressers, with orders to stay home with limited exceptions.

It also bans the mixing of households at Christmas – which has seen many people rushing at the last minute to slightly lighter rules in other parts of England.

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New variant leads to tighter restrictions

The stricter restrictions were announced by the prime minister at a press conference at 4 p.m. on Saturday before they went into effect today.

As of 7pm last night, there were no seats available online on trains from several London stations, including Paddington, Kings Cross and Euston.

Harriet Clugston was among those taking a train from St Pancras to Leeds, a service she described as “crowded”.

She wrote on Twitter: “An ad on tannoy says social distancing” won’t be possible “because of the volume and getting away with it if you’re not comfortable with it.

“People have tried to secure social distancing by placing (suitcases) on seats, but they have been asked to remove them by other passengers because the train is so full. ”

She added: “Every person on this train, including myself, made what is probably a very ridiculous and irresponsible decision to travel despite being within the law. But that’s what people were always going to do to be together on Christmas.

“My mom lives alone and I couldn’t be with her at Christmas. ”

A woman, who declined to be named, said she and her partner had made a “shared decision” to take their young son to his parents’ home on the coast.

“We just made the decision to leave based on the fact that my parents had said to come, and we couldn’t stand the thought of not having fresh air and a toddler coming over. was walking in a small apartment for the foreseeable time, ”she said.

“We also really felt like we wanted to bring the baby somewhere a bit safer with a garden, although we know a lot of people won’t have that luxury.

She added: “The grandparents are desperately happy to see their grandson.

“We’re obviously afraid of taking something away from them, but they seem happy to take the risk. ”



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