London – British interior minister Priti Patel warned those who break Covid-19 lockdown rules that they faced punishment by police, announcing a new 800 pound (about R16 200) fine for those who attend house parties.
“My message is clear: If you don’t follow these rules, then the police will enforce them,” Patel told a news conference. “Police officers are now moving more quickly to hand out fines when they encounter breaches.”
Patel also said it was too early for Britons to start anticipating the end of lockdown and booking summer holidays, warning that the Covid-19 pandemic was still putting pressure on health services.
“It is far too early … to speculate around restrictions, such as the point you just made: should people be booking a holiday,” Patel said.
“The advice is very clear we are in a lockdown, the public should be staying at home.”
The death toll from Covid-19 in the United Kingdom hit 94 580 on Thursday after the country recorded another 1 290 fatalities, while official data showed medics had delivered a new high of 363 508 vaccines in the last 24 hours.
Britain has been hit hard by the latest wave of the pandemic, with daily fatalities routinely over 1 000. It recorded on Wednesday a new daily high of 1 820 deaths of people who had tested positive for the disease within 28 days.
However, a new lockdown has pushed case numbers down and the vaccine roll out has started well.
Britain recorded a further 37 892 cases on Thursday, slightly down from the 38 905 from the day before.
The data showed that 4.97 million people have been given the first dose of the vaccine, with 363,508 receiving it in the last 24 hours, a new record for the roll out.