Tuesday, 27 Oct 2020

Boris Johnson planning 'enforcement blitzkrieg' to patrol pubs for rule-breakers

The Prime Minister is planning an ‘enforcement blitzkrieg’ on pubs and restaurants caught flouting the ‘rule of six’, reports says.

Businesses could even be shut down by patrols if they let punters break the lockdown restrictions, The Sun reports.

A senior Whitehall source told the paper that ‘every option comes with a very big stick’, as the PM prepares for the first emergency Cobra meeting in four months tomorrow.

Brits have been put on red alert for further restrictions following a dire warning about the spread of coronavirus from the UK’s top scientists today.

The Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned the UK could see 50,000 cases a day within a few weeks, and 200 deaths a day by mid-November if the current rate of infection is not halted.

Sir Patrick said the ‘vast majority of the population remain susceptible’ to catching coronavirus and the current situation required swift action to bring the case numbers down.

It comes as ministers make final decisions on what national measures are needed to tackle rising cases, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock strongly hinting that separate households could be prevented from mixing.

The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, hinted that social lives may need to be curbed to prevent coronavirus spiralling out of control, saying there was a need to ‘break unnecessary links’ between households.

He said there were four things to do – washing hands and using masks, quarantine measures, and investing in vaccines and drugs.

‘The third one, and in many ways the most difficult, is that we have to break unnecessary links between households because that is the way in which this virus is transmitted,’ he said.

‘And this means reducing social contacts whether they are at work, and this is where we have enormous gratitude to all the businesses for example who have worked so hard to make their environments Covid-secure to reduce the risk, and also in social environments.

‘We all know we cannot do this without some significant downsides.

‘This is a balance of risk between if we don’t do enough the virus will take off – and at the moment that is the path we’re clearly on – and if we do not change course we are going to find ourselves in a very difficult problem.’

Prof Whitty warned the country should be braced for a tough winter, adding that colder months were known to benefit respiratory viruses.

‘So we should see this as a six-month problem that we have to deal with collectively, it’s not indefinite,’ he said.

Mortality rates from Covid-19 were ‘significantly greater’ than seasonal flu, which killed around 7,000 annually or 20,000 in a bad year, he added.

He suggested that science would eventually ‘ride to our rescue’ but ‘in this period of the next six months, I think we have to realise that we have to take this collectively, very seriously’.

This is a breaking news story, more to follow.

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