BORIS Johnson has today banned gatherings of more than six people in a fresh coronavirus crackdown that could see Christmas cancelled.
The PM has ordered a multi-pronged attack on the virus after several days of rising cases spooked ministers that corona could fast become out of control again.
In his first press conference since July, the PM is announcing moves to ramp up enforcement of the tough rules to make sure everyone is following them – or they risk being slapped with fines of at least £100.
And medical experts warned that a second spike in coronavirus was being fuelled by young people.
People in England will be unable to gather in groups of more than six – including children – and if they do they could even be arrested.
The rules will apply indoors and outdoors, after police chiefs said that the rules were too confusing.
Weddings, funerals, workplaces and some other gatherings will be exempt from the rules.
“I am sorry about that,” he said today after announcing the new laws.
“I wish that we did not have to take this step. But as your PM, I must do what is necessary to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.”
He said he will only keep it in place “as long as necessary”.
It means that grandparents and grandchildren may not be able to spend Christmas together if the rules stay in place until then.
The Government now believes that the R rate is now above one as the rate of infections is increasing so rapidly.
It was revealed today:
- Groups of more than six will be banned from Monday – and anyone who disobeys faced a £100 minimum fine
- Pub-goers and diners will be forced to hand over their details when they go out as part of a ramping up of track and trace
- A new army of health and safety inspectors will be rolled out by local authorities to crack down on places not enforcing safety rules
- Britain’s borders will be beefed up with fresh plans to force airlines into making sure everyone fills out new passenger forms – leaving officials more time to check people are in quarantine
- Stadium pilots will be reviewed and any that go ahead will be limited to 1000 only – putting the return of live sport in doubt
- Night-time curfews for businesses could be slapped on other areas of the country in future
Mr Whitty today unveiled a series of graphs showing the grave situation facing the UK.
And he warned: “Now we can see this spreading across the whole country.
“This is not just in a very small number of places this is the whole country.”
Partying youngsters who are flouting social distancing while down the boozer are behind the Covid surge, boffins believe.
But kids who have headed back to school over the past week are not fuelling the spike, Professor Whitty said today.
Alarming numbers show that England’s Covid infection rates have rocketed from 12.5 per 100,000 last week, to 19.7 this week.
But the rate is far higher among Brits in their late teens and 20s.
Among 17 to 18 year-olds it stands at a staggering 48.1 per 100,000.
Among 19 to 21 year-olds it is even higher at 54.5, while among 20 to 29 year-old it is 41.6 per 100,000.
But it is no higher among school age children.
Senior scientists fear soaring numbers of Brits will end up in hospital and could even die from Covid unless infection rates are quickly and drastically slashed.
Boris begged today: “For the sake of yours and your grandparents health, don’t socially gather in groups of more than six now, and when term starts.”
Universities will also be told NOT to send students home in the event of another outbreak, he revealed.
LIVE SPORT ON HOLD
Boris also confirmed that the Government was putting plans for live sport to return back under review.
Any pilots that do take place will have to have a limit of 1000 people.
Doncaster today cancelled its St Leger races event after the warnings from the PM and public health leaders.