Covid: Play your part in fight against virus, says Patel

Covid: Play your part in fight against virus, says Patel

People have been urged to “play your part” and follow Covid rules by Home Secretary Priti Patel, who says she will back police to enforce laws.

At a No 10 briefing, Ms Patel said a minority were “putting the health of the nation at risk” by flouting rules.

Police are “moving more quickly to issuing fines”, she added, with nearly 45,000 fixed penalty notices issued across the UK.

Another 1,243 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid.

And there have been a further 45,533 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.

Meanwhile, another 145,076 people have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and 20,768 a second dose, bringing the totals respectively to 2,431,648 and 412,167.

At the briefing, Ms Patel said: “My message today to anyone refusing to do the right thing is simple: if you do not play your part our selfless police officers – who are out there risking their own lives every day to keep us safe – they will enforce the regulations.

“And I will back them to do so, to protect our NHS and to save lives.”

Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Martin Hewitt, who was also at the briefing, said people should be asking themselves whether their reason for leaving home was “truly essential”.

He stressed that police officers had been “putting themselves at risk in order to keep people safe”, and said it had been “disappointing” to see some of the behaviour by rule-breakers.

There is a big focus on adherence to lockdown rules. But what has almost gone unnoticed is the fact that cases may have actually started falling.

There has now been two consecutive days where newly diagnosed cases have hovered around the 46,000 mark. Up to the weekend, the average was close to 60,000.

The drop has largely been driven by falls in new cases in London, the South East and East of England.

In some regions, cases are still going up. The north west of England is causing particular concern.

It is too early for the vaccination programme to be having any significant impact, so a combination of the national lockdown on top of the tier four restrictions that were imposed in some areas before Christmas look like they may be beginning to have an impact.

Care must be taken in reading too much into a couple of days data.

Hospital cases are still rising – patients being admitted at the moment are the ones who were infected a week or so ago – but it does at least offer a glimmer of hope.

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