UK virus ‘costs lives’ as police seek priority shots

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London (AFP)

People flouting coronavirus lockdown rules are putting lives at risk, the UK government said on Tuesday, as cases hit record highs and rumors revolve around potentially tighter restrictions.

Britain is currently in its third lockdown, with schools and non-essential stores closed, as a new strain of the virus quickly spreads across the country.

Last week, the country saw the worst daily case count and death toll since the outbreak started, and the government is considering even stricter rules, which could include increasing the distance that people have need to stay apart in public.

Government Minister Kit Malthouse said the situation was “very, very perilous” but not everyone was following orders to stay at home.

“A small minority of people are breaking the rules and they are costing people their lives,” he told Sky News.

“Whether there will be bigger restrictions or not really depends on the numbers,” said Malthouse, whose mandate includes crime and police.

“This virus is evolving so rapidly that the government has to make very nimble decisions about how we live our lives. ”

More than 81,000 people have died and more than three million have tested positive for Covid, with restrictions imposed to curb the spread of daily life.

But evidence from people ignoring social distancing guidelines, despite warnings that a new variant of the virus is highly transmissible, has led to speculation rules could be toughened.

– ‘False complacency’ –

Supermarket staff have expressed concerns about the risks they face during the outbreak, with the Usdaw store workers union calling for tougher in-store measures.

Retail bosses suggested receiving police support to help enforce the measures.

Britain’s top-ranking police officer, London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, said the force was “moving faster to enforcement” against those breaking the rules.

“I don’t want people to have the idea that this is some kind of dictatorial police force, it really isn’t, it’s common sense,” she told BBC radio.

The government is counting on an extensive vaccination program to help lift the lockdown restrictions, which are expected to be in place at least until mid-February.

Some 2.4 million people have already received beatings.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday warned of “false confidence, false complacency” over the vaccine rollout, and called on people to “do the right thing”.

“We have to apply the rules in the supermarkets. When people have take-out drinks in cafes, they have to avoid spreading the disease there, avoid mixing too much, ”he said.

Police chiefs are also concerned that their staff will be exposed to the virus when the rules are enforced.

Dick on Tuesday called on the government to consider making immunization a priority for police and frontline staff who interact with the public, and said it was “actively discussed.”

Malthouse said police “have a strong case” for priority vaccinations, once the most vulnerable have been hit.

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