Supermarkets covid breaches are 'worrying' MPs as tougher measures threatened

The vaccine minister has raised concerns that people are not following lockdown regulations closely enough in supermarkets and while exercising amid suggestions restrictions may need to be toughened.

Monday, 11th January 2021, 2:00 pm
FILE - In this Friday, April 10, 2020 file photo people observe social distancing in an attempt to stop the spread of coronavirus by standing behind tape lines as they queue up to shop outside a branch of the Tesco supermarket chain in west London. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccine minister has said he is worried that social interactions are taking place in parks under the cover of exercise and masks are not being worn inside shops, which may be becoming too crowded.

The news comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly discussed the prospect of introducing tougher controls to ensure the public abide by the restrictions, as the new highly-contagious variant continues to spread across the UK.

Mr Zahawi said: “We don’t want to use tougher measures, the lockdown is tough, schools are shut, but it is important to remember this virus loves social interactions.

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"We’re reviewing all the restrictions, but these are pretty tough at the moment. I am worried about supermarkets and people actually wearing masks and following the one-way system and making sure when it’s at capacity they wait outside the supermarket.

“I’m worried about some of the pictures I’ve seen of social interactions in parks, if you have to exercise you can go out for exercise only.”

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Experts say Test and Trace is a ‘big failure’ - where did it go wrong?

As mass vaccination sites opened on Monday, England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, urges the public to “stay at home unless you absolutely have to” as the next few weeks will be the “worst weeks of the pandemic”.

Adding that the “new variant undoubtedly makes every situation slightly more dangerous than it was”, but that the risk outdoors “remains low” providing the rules are followed.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also warned for the public that “every flex can be fatal” as he backed harsher enforcement of the lockdown by police on Sunday.

The majority of outbreaks examined by Public Health England last week came from care homes, where 749 incidents were recorded.

But Devon and Cornwall Police Deputy Chief Constable Paul Netherton argues that people are getting “fed up” with lockdown restrictions and compliance has dropped.

Some experts have said the current lockdown measures are not strict enough, in the face of the more transmissible variant which has spread rapidly in many parts of the country.

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