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Chris Whitty strongly warns of the Covid threat to the NHS


Chris Whitty warned today that the next few weeks will be the worst yet for the NHS as the government begs people not to exceed the lockdown lines – and threatens to make them even tougher.

The chief medical officer went on the air to highlight the magnitude of the threat. He said 30,000 people are in the hospital, compared to the high of 18,000 in April.

In the midst of chatting in the street and in stores, Prof. Whitty urged people to remember that "any unnecessary contact" was an opportunity for the virus to spread.

He insisted that while the NHS is in "the most dangerous situation anyone can remember", vaccines mean the UK can be back to normal in "months, not years" – but he warned the situation is far from it away.

The intervention came amid concerns that the number of daily deaths could rise to 2,000, and Boris Johnson sought to tighten national lockdown rules even more dramatically if cases continued to increase.

A Whitehall source said MailOnline ministers had been talking about people being allowed to leave the house only once a week – although No10 today denied it was an option. Other ideas include making it mandatory to wear masks outdoors and banning extended bladders.

Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi this morning suggested that stores be in the line of fire, stressing that everyone in supermarkets must wear masks and follow disposable systems. He appealed to people not to stop and chat with friends they meet outside of their homes.

Limiting people from different households to exercise together also appears to be in the pipeline as the government seeks ways to reduce transmission.

Prof. Whitty told BBC Breakfast: “We have a very important problem. The next few weeks will be the worst weeks of this pandemic as measured by the NHS numbers. & # 39;

He added, "That's everyone's problem."

Prof. Whitty said, "This is the most dangerous time we have really had in terms of the number of NHS members at this particular point in time."

The UK announced another 573 coronavirus deaths yesterday, on the highest Sunday since April and the third deadliest Sunday in the entire pandemic, as one in five people in England may have had coronavirus. In some areas of East London and Essex, it could be up to one in two people, Edge Health claims.

The infections are also still high: 54,940 were announced yesterday – for the thirteenth day in a row they were above the 50,000 mark.

In another dramatic development of today's coronavirus crisis:

  • Matt Hancock reveals the UK's detailed vaccine rollout plan. The ministers promise that more than 13 million people will be insured by mid-February.
  • Vaccine Minister Zahawi ruled out immediate 24-hour shocks at the country's new vaccination centers opened today, blaming a lack of drugs.
  • Ministers have ordered local authorities to limit the number of people allowed into stores at the same time, fearing they could become virus hotspots.
  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak will keep MPs informed about the economic impact of the pandemic in a Commons statement this afternoon.

Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, went on the air to highlight the scale of the threat. He said 30,000 people are in the hospital, compared to the high of 18,000 in April

Crowds flocked to beaches and town centers today, despite Boris Johnson asking families to stay home when the coronavirus hospital death toll hit 563 - the highest Sunday in eight months. Pictured: Visitors on Tynemouth Longsands beach

Crowds flocked to beaches and town centers today, despite Boris Johnson asking families to stay home when the coronavirus hospital death toll hit 563 – the highest Sunday in eight months. Pictured: Visitors on Tynemouth Longsands beach

Yesterday, large crowds could be seen in Victoria Park in east London

There were large crowds in Victoria Park in east London yesterday

Crowds of people were seen yesterday walking through Victoria Park in east London

Crowds of people were seen yesterday walking through Victoria Park in east London

Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi this morning suggested that stores be in the line of fire, stressing that everyone in supermarkets must wear masks and follow disposable systems

Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi this morning suggested that stores be in the line of fire, stressing that everyone in supermarkets must wear masks and follow disposable systems

Don't stop chatting with friends, says Minister

A minister today attacked people breaking the lockdown by stopping to chat with friends they met during "training".

Nadhim Zahawi was alarmed this morning in a round of interviews about the pictures of people who had gathered in parks over the weekend.

The vaccines minister declined to offer any guarantee that the current “tough” lockdown restrictions are adequate and raised concerns from those who do not follow the rules in supermarkets or exercise outside.

When asked if the current restrictions are sufficient, he told BBC Radio 4's Today program: “We don't want to take tougher action, the lockdown is tough, schools are closed, but it's important to remember that this virus loves social interactions.

“We are reviewing all the restrictions, but these are pretty difficult right now.

“I worry about supermarkets and people who actually wear masks and follow the one-way system and make sure they wait outside the supermarket when capacity is full.

"I'm worried about some of the pictures I've seen of social interactions in parks. If you need to exercise, all you can do is exercise."

Mr Zahawi said if people outside their homes should keep in mind that any interaction presents an opportunity for the virus to spread.

Prof. Whitty said the UK could avoid a tougher lockdown if people properly followed the rules as he described the Covid-19 death toll of 81,431 as "absolutely appalling".

He insisted it was very dangerous to meet someone from a different household, adding that the coronavirus "doesn't care if you meet your friend or family".

He told BBC Breakfast that the UK was currently at the worst of the pandemic that began last March and was asked if life would ever return to normal.

Prpf Whitty replied: "I am confident that at some point we will come back to life, there is no doubt that this is the life we ​​all want to lead."

Once the vaccines are in place, he said, “People will be able to lift the restrictions.

"It won't happen all at once, and at some point, hopefully, you will return to a life that is basically exactly the same as before."

"We are a long way from that at the moment."

He said ministers would "always look at" whether the lockdown could be tightened, but all Britons would have to comply with the rules to "help protect the NHS".

Prof. Whitty added that kindergartens are still open as the risk to children from Covid is "very low" and it is important that parents can continue to go to work.

But he urged people to "minimize their social contact," if possible, to "double" the lockdown rules, saying the new surge in the virus was "everyone's problem".

Prof. Whitty added, "Tinkering with the rules may be useful, but the most important thing is that everyone obey the spirit of the rules."

He also said the rest of this month will likely be the worst part of the pandemic as the new highly infectious variants of the virus rage across the UK.

Prof. Whitty said, “At the peak we had in April last year, we had about 18,000 people in the NHS. We currently have over 30,000 employees in the NHS as of yesterday.

"A week ago, all four of the chief physicians for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland said, 'This will be a major crisis for the NHS if we don't evade. "

& # 39; This new variant really drives things forward in a way that the old variant – which was already very bad – couldn't.

“So we have a very big problem … it's a serious problem and it's increasing in every part of England.

"The next few weeks will be the worst weeks of this pandemic in terms of numbers in the NHS."

He also urged people to double down and cut unnecessary contacts.

Prof. Whitty said, “What we need to do before the vaccines work – because it will take a few weeks for this to happen – we really need to double down.

“This is everyone's problem. Every single unnecessary contact with someone is a potential link in a chain of transmission that leads to a person at risk.

"We all, as individuals, must help the NHS and our fellow citizens by minimizing unnecessary contact."

He added, "The virus can be passed on to any location where people from two different households meet."

Mr. Zahawi declined to offer any guarantee that the current “tough” lockdown restrictions are sufficient and raised concerns from those who fail to follow the rules in supermarkets or exercise outside.

When asked if the current restrictions are sufficient, he told BBC Radio 4's Today program: “We don't want to take tougher action, the lockdown is tough, schools are closed, but it's important to remember that this virus loves social interactions.

“We are reviewing all the restrictions, but these are pretty difficult right now. I worry about supermarkets and people who actually wear masks and follow the one-way system, and make sure they wait outside the supermarket when capacity is full.

"I'm worried about some of the pictures I've seen of social interactions in parks. If you need to exercise, all you can do is exercise."

The Cabinet Office refused to deny that draconian new laws were coming. Health Secretary Matt Hancock refused to speculate when asked directly yesterday whether stricter measures – including curfews and kindergarten closings – could be put in place, saying instead the British should "follow the rules we have".

A Whitehall source told MailOnline that the changes discussed even included introducing a ban on people leaving their homes more than once a week.

But No10 sources today insisted this was out of the question and the immediate focus would be on "tougher enforcement and surveillance".

According to the rules in place, Britons can train with another person or with their household or their support bubble.

But a government source told the Daily Telegraph that the rule "is used as an excuse for people to have coffee with their friends in the park" and could be tightened.

The source said the two-person, two-household rule for exercise is for people's mental health, especially the elderly who don't want to run to see anyone.

But many use their "imagination" to do what they want.

Their concern arose when hordes of people flocked to the beaches and town over the weekend, despite Boris Johnson's requests that families stay home and help control the rapidly spreading mutant variant of Covid.

The officials are also said to encourage businesses and workplaces to improve their social distancing.

Supermarkets will be a focal point of the recent government push, with many feared that lax enforcement of the rules poses risk to shoppers.

Stricter punishment for rule violations is also being considered.

A senior government scientific adviser said yesterday it would become clear whether the current lockdown would reduce the spread of coronavirus cases – with deaths over 80,000 – within 14 days.

Professor Peter Horby, Chair of the Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats (NERVTAG) said: "Unfortunately, if there is any evidence that this is not the case, we need to be even stricter."

The UK announced a further 573 coronavirus deaths on Sunday, the highest number on Sunday since April.

Mr Hancock appeared on the BBC's Andrew Marr program yesterday morning asking about a range of actions that could be taken.

Mr. Marr asked, “Are you considering things like curfews, closing kindergartens, quitting some of those support bladders, returning to just an hour of outdoor exercise, and asking people to wear masks in crowded outdoor areas? Are these the things to consider if you can't get this under control very quickly? & # 39;

But Mr. Hancock replied, “Well, I don't want to speculate because the main message is not whether the government will continue to strengthen the rules. The most important thing is that people stay home and follow the rules that we have. & # 39;

Boris Johnson (pictured) held a meeting to discuss an even tougher lockdown with restrictions on exercise, compulsory outdoor masks and no more social bubbles, all of which were floating by ministers, sources claim

Boris Johnson (pictured) held a meeting to discuss an even tougher lockdown with restrictions on exercise, compulsory outdoor masks and no more social bubbles, all of which were floating by ministers, sources claim

Professor Peter Horby, chairman of the virus advisory group NERVTAG, said: "If there is any indication that this is not the case, unfortunately we have to be stricter."

Professor Peter Horby, chairman of the virus advisory group NERVTAG, said: "If there is any evidence that this is not the case, unfortunately we have to be stricter."

Professor Horby told the same program that the new variant discovered in Kent, which appears to be far more transmissible than older strains of Covid, made the situation "riskier".

When asked what it means to be “even stricter” in practice, he said, “I think the principles haven't changed. There is no evidence to suggest that this virus is transmitted any other way. It's just that when people have it, they have more virus, so any contact is riskier.

What is a "reasonable excuse" to go outside?

According to the rules in England, you can only leave your home if you have a "reasonable excuse". This is regulated by law. The police can take action against you if you leave home without a “reasonable apology” and impose a fine (Fixed Penalty). You can get a fixed penalty of £ 200 for the first offense, which doubles to a maximum of £ 6,400 for further offenses.

A "reasonable apology" includes:

  • Work – You can only leave home for work if it is inappropriate for you to do your work from home
  • Volunteering – You can also leave home to do volunteer or community service
  • Essential Activities – You can leave home to buy things in stores or get services. You can also leave home to do these things on behalf of a disabled or vulnerable person, or someone who is self-isolating
  • Education and Child Care – You can only leave home for education, registered child care, and supervised activities for children that you are eligible to attend.
  • Meeting with Others and Care – You can leave home to visit people in your support bubble (if you are legally entitled to form one), to informally care for children under the age of 14 under a child care bubble (e.g. to To enable parents to work) to look after disabled or vulnerable people
  • Exercise – You can continue to exercise alone, with someone else, or with your household or support bladder and not outside of your area. The government advises you to exercise only once a day, but the law doesn't restrict it.
  • Medical Reasons – You can leave home for medical reasons, including a COVID-19 test for medical appointments and emergencies
  • Harm and Compassionate Visits – You can leave the house to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness, or to avoid the risk of harm (such as domestic violence).
  • You can also leave the house to visit someone who is dying, someone in a nursing home (if this is permitted under the guidance of the nursing home), a hospice or hospital, or to accompany them to a doctor's appointment
  • Animal welfare reasons – You can leave your home for animal welfare reasons, e.g. B. To contact a veterinary service for advice or treatment
  • Communal Worship and Life Events – You can leave home to attend or attend a place of worship for communal worship, funeral or event related to a death, burial site or memorial garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony.

There are other reasonable excuses.

For example, you may leave your home to comply with legal obligations or to engage in activities related to buying, selling, renting or renting residential property, or when it is reasonable to vote in an election or referendum. In Scotland, coronavirus legislation gives the police the power to force people into people's homes if a “reasoned suspicion” rule is violated. In England, however, they can only enter under "exceptional circumstances" even if they believe someone inside is contagious. Otherwise they need an arrest warrant.

So the same principles apply. The point is to reduce social contact, and if there is inevitable social contact, be as strict as possible with distance and face masks, hand hygiene and ventilation, etc. & # 39;

Mr. Marr asked, “So when I think back to March and spring I can remember that for example you could only go out for an hour, for example for any kind of exercise, and there were much stricter rules for meeting with other people. Are these the things we might see if we don't get it under control now? & # 39;

To which he said: “Yes, that's right. You know, we have seen in the past that very strict measures work and if the current measures are not strict enough, it is clear what we have to do. & # 39;

Meanwhile, union leader Sir Keir Starmer warned that if they don't prevent spikes in Covid cases, lockdown rules may need to be tightened – as he called for kindergartens to close immediately.

He attacked "mixed messages" from ministers about the lockdown restrictions when he asked Boris Johnson to hold daily press conferences until the lockdown is lifted.

The UK's Covid death toll topped 80,000 after a further 1,035 deaths yesterday, adding to fears that the total will exceed 100,000 by the end of the month.

Sir Keir appeared on the BBC's Andrew Marr program and said, “They are tough and necessary. You can't be tough enough.

“In a sense, I think the most important thing is that people get this message about staying at home.

“And it's up to the government to get that message out all the time. I'm afraid we've had mixed messages over the past nine months as to why we have a problem.

"I want to see the Prime Minister hold a press conference every day to make sure the message gets through absolutely."

It comes as:

  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the introduction of two million quick-result "lateral flow" tests for anyone in England who has to leave their home to find the estimated of three asymptomatic "silent spreaders".
  • Downing Street is expected to postpone local elections from May to fall due to the disruption caused by the pandemic.
  • An expert study concluded that there is no clear evidence that closing schools can reduce the spread of the coronavirus, despite the fact that the government on Tuesday claimed it had no choice but to shut down the education system.
  • It emerged that when Tory MPs urged Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to use Margaret Thatcher's tough approach to striking miners in the 1980s, some school principals blocked live online classes as it was an invasion of teachers' privacy teaching unions with imitation militants;
  • Scientists advising the government claimed lockdown measures needed to be stricter in England – some called for "Asian" curbs – as current rules "still allow a lot of activity for the virus to spread";
  • However, "Professor Lockdown" Neil Ferguson said that high infection rates and the introduction of mass vaccines in the UK could bring herd immunity to coronavirus that was achieved before the end of the year – which means a return to normal by autumn;
  • Tory MP Andrew Bridgen urged Derbyshire police to overturn the £ 200 fines handed to friends Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore who had driven five miles to walk at a beauty spot.
  • British vacationers have been warned that if they fail a Covid test they will have to be quarantined abroad for up to a fortnight as they prepare to fly home.
  • Experts said travelers from South Africa would take indirect flights to the UK to evade the travel ban.
Hordes of visitors were seen strolling on the beach at Tynemouth Longsands in North Tyneside. The area parking lots were full when the families came to the seaside beauty spot for a Sunday stroll

Hordes of visitors were seen strolling on the beach at Tynemouth Longsands in North Tyneside. The area parking lots were full when the families came to the seaside beauty spot for a Sunday stroll

Swarms of people descended on the beach in Tyneside. The government's new guidelines mandate that sport must be enjoyed daily in the area - however, it is unclear how far today's visitors have traveled to get a welcome breath of fresh air

Swarms of people descended on the beach in Tyneside. The government's new guidelines mandate that sport must be enjoyed daily in the area – however, it is unclear how far today's visitors have traveled to get a welcome breath of fresh air

The health minister refused to speculate when asked directly whether measures such as curfews, time limits outside the home and the introduction of masks outdoors could be put in place.

The Minister of Health refused to speculate when asked directly whether measures such as curfews, time limits outside the home and the introduction of masks outside could be put in place.

The Labor leader attacked "mixed messages" from ministers about lockdown restrictions when he asked Boris Johnson to hold daily press conferences until lockdown is lifted

The Labor leader attacked "mixed messages" from ministers about lockdown restrictions when he asked Boris Johnson to hold daily press conferences until lockdown is lifted

Sir Keir Starmer said kindergartens "should probably close" and told the BBC, "I think there is a reason to look at kindergartens, we're talking to the scientists about it."

Sir Keir Starmer said kindergartens "should probably close" and told the BBC, "I think there is a reason to look at kindergartens, we're talking to the scientists about it."

Priti Patel defended the police when they began strictly enforcing Covid rules, which include fines of £ 200 and less tolerance for rule violations.

The Home Secretary warned officials "will not hesitate" to take action as the rising number of new Covid-19 cases proved the need for "strong enforcement" in cases where people were clearly breaking the rules .

Mr Hancock told Sky & # 39; s Ridge on Sunday that more people are obeying the rules than when there was lockdown in November, but added, “I will definitely be helping the police. The challenge here is that any flex can be fatal.

& # 39; You could look at the rules and think & # 39; & # 39; Well it doesn't matter so much whether I do this or that & # 39; & # 39; but these rules are not there as boundaries to be moved, they are the boundary of what people should do. & # 39;

When asked about the prospect of tighter restrictions later at Marr, he added: “I don't want to speculate because the main message is not whether the government will continue to strengthen the rules.

“The most important thing is that people stay home and follow the rules that we have.

"And that's the most important thing we can do together as a society in terms of the extent of the case impact."

Herr Hancock, der das Interview von zu Hause aus per Videolink gab, fügte hinzu: „Es ist schwer, es ist nicht einfach. Aber wenn Sie etwas von zu Hause aus tun können und nicht außerhalb von zu Hause gehen müssen, sollten Sie dies tun.

"Die Menschen müssen nicht nur den Buchstaben der Regeln befolgen, sondern auch dem Geist folgen und ihre Rolle spielen."

Sir Keir sagte, Kindergärten sollten "wahrscheinlich geschlossen werden". Grund- und weiterführende Schulen wurden während der Sperrung geschlossen, die Vorschulen bleiben jedoch für jüngere Kinder geöffnet.

Er sagte gegenüber der BBC: „Ich denke, es gibt einen Grund, sich Kindergärten anzuschauen. Wir sprechen mit den Wissenschaftlern darüber.

"Ich denke, die Leute sind überrascht, dass die Grundschulen geschlossen waren, die Kindergärten jedoch nicht."

Er fügte hinzu: "Ich denke, sie sollten wahrscheinlich geschlossen werden, ich möchte mit den Wissenschaftlern darüber sprechen."

Er sagte, die Einhaltung der Ziele des Impfprogramms sei der beste Weg, um Schulen wieder zu eröffnen.

Im Bild: In Hampstead im Norden Londons stehen Menschen für Pfannkuchen an, obwohl der Londoner Bürgermeister Sadiq Khan aufgrund eines raschen Anstiegs der Fälle den Ausnahmezustand in der Hauptstadt erklärt hat

Im Bild: In Hampstead, Nord-London, stehen die Leute für Pfannkuchen an, obwohl der Londoner Bürgermeister Sadiq Khan aufgrund eines raschen Anstiegs der Fälle den Ausnahmezustand in der Hauptstadt erklärt hat

Aber er sagte, die Wiedereröffnung von Klassenzimmern müsse nicht von der Impfung von Lehrern abhängig gemacht werden.

"Wir müssten uns alle Kriterien ansehen, aber das Wichtigste ist das Impfprogramm", sagte er.

"Es ist sehr schwer zu erkennen, wie wir damit beginnen können, Beschränkungen auf sinnvolle Weise aufzuheben, bis das Impfprogramm, zumindest der erste Teil davon, erfolgreich eingeführt ist."

Auf die Frage gedrängt, ob die Wiedereröffnung von der Impfung von Lehrern abhängt, fügte er hinzu: „Nein, ich weiß nicht, dass dies unbedingt der Fall ist, obwohl dies eine gute Sache wäre, wenn dies passieren könnte.

„Dieses Argument, dass es Sektoren gibt, in denen es aus offensichtlichen Gründen ein sehr starkes Argument für Impfungen gibt, und ich verstehe das, und wir werden das haben, um dem gerecht zu werden, ganz offen.

"Aber im Moment müssen wir uns auf diejenigen konzentrieren, die am wahrscheinlichsten ins Krankenhaus gehen und auf tragische Weise sterben."

Soviel zum Bleiben zu Hause! Menschenmassen ziehen an Strände und in die Innenstadt, obwohl Boris Johnson die Familien bittet, zu Hause zu bleiben, da Covids Todesfälle 563 erreichten – der tödlichste Sonntag seit acht Monaten

Von DAVID WILCOCK und JEMMA CARR für MailOnline

Trotz Boris Johnsons Bitten, dass Familien zu Hause bleiben, strömten gestern Horden von Menschen an Strände und in die Stadtzentren, da Großbritannien 563 Todesfälle verzeichnet – die höchste Zahl am Sonntag seit acht Monaten.

Wochenendwanderer wurden heute Nachmittag beim Bummeln an einem überfüllten Strand von Tynemouth Longsands in North Tyneside gesehen, wobei die Parkplätze bis zum Rand voll waren.

Die neuen Richtlinien der Regierung schreiben vor, dass täglich Sport in der Region betrieben werden muss – es ist jedoch unklar, wie weit die heutigen Besucher gereist sind, um einen willkommenen Hauch frischer Luft zu erhalten.

Auf Merseyside versammelten sich Fußballfans hinter Barrieren, um einen Blick auf die Spieler zu werfen, die in das Spiel Marine AFC gegen Tottenham Hotspur gingen. Viele der Menschen waren nicht sozial distanziert, obwohl Polizisten zuschauten.

Die Fans zeigen ihre Unterstützung ohne soziale Distanz, während sie vor dem Stadion warten, während der Trainer des Spurs-Teams eintrifft

Die Fans zeigen ihre Unterstützung ohne soziale Distanz, während sie vor dem Stadion warten, während der Trainer des Spurs-Teams eintrifft

Fans fotografieren vor Polizisten, während sie heute vor dem heutigen Spiel von Marine AFC gegen Tottenham Hotspur vor dem Rosset Park-Stadion warten

Fans fotografieren vor Polizisten, während sie heute vor dem Spiel Marine AFC gegen Tottenham Hotspur vor dem Rosset Park-Stadion warten

Die berittene Polizei kontrolliert die Menge vor dem Rossett Park-Stadion auf Merseyside für das Spiel der dritten Runde des Emirates FA Cup

Die berittene Polizei kontrolliert die Menge vor dem Rossett Park-Stadion auf Merseyside für das Spiel der dritten Runde des Emirates FA Cup

In Liverpool sah man die Polizei als Fußballfans, die sich vor dem FA Cup Marine gegen Spurs versammelt hatten und die Regeln der sozialen Distanzierung offen ignorierten

In Liverpool, police were pictured looking on as football supporters who had gathered outside the Marine v Spurs FA Cup blatantly ignored social distancing rules

Police said the 'vast majorty' of those outside the stadium were adhering to social distancing measures and those who were not were advised by officers

Police said the 'vast majorty' of those outside the stadium were adhering to social distancing measures and those who were not were advised by officers

Superintendent Andy Rankine from Merseyside Police told MailOnline: 'Officers are in Crosby this afternoon ahead of Marine FC's FA Cup tie with Tottenham Hotspur. A small gathering (pictured) took place ahead of the arrival of the team coaches, and road closures were put in place to facilitate this arrival safely'

Superintendent Andy Rankine from Merseyside Police told MailOnline: 'Officers are in Crosby this afternoon ahead of Marine FC's FA Cup tie with Tottenham Hotspur. A small gathering (pictured) took place ahead of the arrival of the team coaches, and road closures were put in place to facilitate this arrival safely'

And Dovestones Reservoir in Oldham was 'swamped' with visitors, leaving drivers forced to park on the double yellow lines landing them with fines.

Photos shared to social media showed a traffic officer slapping yellow notices on a number of cars parked on the side of the road.

And in London masses of people were seen taking to Hampstead high street.

Long queues of people wrapped up warm were seen coming from food stalls and cafes in the area.

Meanwhile in Derbyshire, mountain rescue had to save a group of plane-crash enthusiasts who got stuck in deep snow on a five-hour walk.

The group – all from Manchester – broke lockdown to hunt for the B-29 crash site in Bleaklow Moor when one member became too tired to carry on.

And in Prestatyn, Wales, police stopped a learner driver who'd driven an uninsured car 60 miles from Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, to go to the beach in North Wales.

Under the current rules in England, people must not leave their home unless they have a 'reasonable excuse' – which includes exercise.

Citizens are allowed to exercise with one other person or with their household or support bubble, but not outside their local area.

It is unclear whether everyone who flocked to Britain's countryside hotspots live locally or had to drive from afar.

Dovestones Reservoir in Oldham was 'swamped' with visitors as drivers were slapped with fines for parking on double yellow lines as they flocked to see the beauty-spot

Dovestones Reservoir in Oldham was 'swamped' with visitors as drivers were slapped with fines for parking on double yellow lines as they flocked to see the beauty-spot

Car parks near the beach in Tyneside were at full capacity - although it is unclear whether all visitors were from the local area

Car parks near the beach in Tyneside were at full capacity – although it is unclear whether all visitors were from the local area

And in London, masses of people were seen taking to Hampstead high street. Long queues of people wrapped up warm were seen coming from food stalls and cafes in the area

And in London, masses of people were seen taking to Hampstead high street. Long queues of people wrapped up warm were seen coming from food stalls and cafes in the area

People queue up for crepes in freezing temperatures on Hampstead high street

People queue up for crepes in freezing temperatures on Hampstead high street

It was also revealed police arrested a 19-year-old for planning to hold a suspected unlicensed music event.

The teenager advertised a 'Bristol Freerave' on social media at an undisclosed location.   He has since been released under investigation.

Avon and Somerset police said 38 fixed penalty notices for breaches of Covid regulations were issued, while around 30 minors were given advice by officers.

A further arrest was made in connection with a drink driving offence and a vehicle was seized for having no insurance.

A police officer talks to a man sitting on a bench in Hyde Park

A police officer talks to a man sitting on a bench in Hyde Park

Police speak to people who had been seated on a bench in Hyde Park

Police speak to people who had been seated on a bench in Hyde Park

A policeman cycles through Hyde Park as people take their daily exercise

A policeman cycles through Hyde Park as people take their daily exercise

Police officers talk to a cyclist in Greenwich on Sunday

Police officers talk to a cyclist in Greenwich on Sunday

Priti Patel today defended police as they began strict application of Covid rules that includes £200 fines and less tolerance for rule-breakers.

The Home Secretary warned that officers 'will not hesitate' to take action because the increasing number of new Covid-19 cases proved there was a need for 'strong enforcement' in cases where people were clearly breaking the rules.

Police tactics have come in for scrutiny after Derbyshire Police handed out £200 fines to two women who drove separately to go for a walk at a remote beauty spot situated around five miles from their homes.

It comes as footage emerged showing three police officers surrounding a woman for allegedly leaving her house more than once in a day.

Forces across England have urged people to stay home and avoid travelling as they continue to fine Covid rule-breakers.

Ms Patel said: 'Our police officers are working tirelessly to keep us safe. Not only are they continuing to take criminals off our streets, but they are also playing a crucial role in controlling the spread of the virus.

'The vast majority of the public have supported this huge national effort and followed the rules.

'But the tragic number of new cases and deaths this week shows there is still a need for strong enforcement where people are clearly breaking these rules to ensure we safeguard our country's recovery from this deadly virus.

People in Hampstead queue outside a cafe while taking their daily allowance for exercise

People in Hampstead queue outside a cafe while taking their daily allowance for exercise

'Enforcing these rules saves lives. It is as simple as that. Officers will continue to engage with the public across the country and will not hesitate to take action when necessary.'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky's Ridge on Sunday more people were obeying the rules than in the November lockdown, but added: 'Absolutely I'm going to back the police. The challenge here is that every flex can be fatal.

'You might look at the rules and think ''well it doesn't matter that much if I just do this or do that'', but these rules are not there as boundaries to be pushed, they're the limit of what people should be doing.

Police on Horseback in Hyde Park in central London today amid a police clampdown on lockdown rule breakers that could see them fined up to £200

Police on Horseback in Hyde Park in central London today amid a police clampdown on lockdown rule breakers that could see them fined up to £200

Lots of people in Hampstead, north London, decided to take exercise and shop for essential items at the same time

Lots of people in Hampstead, north London, decided to take exercise and shop for essential items at the same time

Covid vaccine could become annual event like flu jab, says Hancock

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it is 'highly likely' people will be vaccinated against Covid annually, as with the flu.

He told Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: 'I think it's highly likely that there will be a dual-vaccination programme for the foreseeable, this is the medium-term, of flu and Covid.'

He added: 'Flu vaccination rates are at their highest level ever. Over 80 per cent of the over-65s have been vaccinated for flu this year. That's the biggest increase, a jump on last year when it was around 70 per cent.

'That's very good news. It's good news for two reasons. Firstly, to protect people against flu and secondly because it shows the vast, vast majority of over-65s are up for getting vaccinated.'

The Health Secretary said the Government was on course to reach its target of 13 million people vaccinated by mid-February.

He told Ridge: 'Yes we're on course. The rate limiting factor at the moment is supply but that's increasing.

'I'm very glad to say that at the moment we're running at over 200,000 people being vaccinated every day.

'We've now vaccinated around one third of the over-80s in this country so we're making significant progress but there's still further expansion to go.

'This week we're opening mass vaccination centres. Big sites for instance at Epsom racecourse, there's seven going live this week with more to come next week where we will get through very large numbers of people.'

In North Tyneside car parks were jammed and huge queues formed outside cafes selling takeaway hot drinks.

One local resident said: 'It's crazy. I can't believe how busy it is. It's actually busier than usual.

'These people are putting themselves and their families at risk by being here.

'The Government's message is clear. You should act like you have the virus.

'I saw a police van earlier, but it just drove along the seafront, it didn't stop.

'There doesn't seem to be any enforcement of the rules at all.'

The National Police Chiefs' Council's new guidance, issued on Wednesday according to the Sunday Telegraph, said: 'Officers should continue to engage members of the public and explain changes. If necessary they should offer encouragement to comply.

'However if the individual or group does not respond appropriately, then enforcement can follow without repeated attempts to encourage people to comply with the law.

'We police by consent. The initial police response should be to encourage voluntary compliance.'

The previous guidance from December 9, said: 'We police by consent. The initial police response should be to encourage voluntary compliance.'

A Home Office source told the Telegraph police are set to 'move through the gears', warning: 'We are going to see more rapid movement to enforcement.

'Over 1,000 people died yesterday. It is important that everyone sticks to the rules. The rules have been around for long enough.

'If there was a gunman who killed 1,000 people yesterday running around the country and the Government said 'stay at home' everyone would say 'OK I'll do that, I won't go for a coffee with some friends and walk around the park'.'

In Liverpool, police were pictured looking on as football supporters who had gathered outside the Marine v Spurs FA Cup blatantly ignored social distancing rules.

Football fans were packed behind barriers outside the Rossett Park stadium in Crosby to catch a glimpse of players in the Marine AFC v Tottenham Hotspur match on Sunday.

MailOnline asked Merseyside Police if any action had been taken for breaches of Covid laws.

A spokesman said it was 'factually incorrect' to describe the crowds as 'huge', adding police were there 'as a planned response to manage road closures, public safety and coach arrivals as well'.

'It isn't a simple case of clearing an area of people,' he said.

Superintendent Andy Rankine from Merseyside Police told MailOnline: 'Officers are in Crosby this afternoon ahead of Marine FC's FA Cup tie with Tottenham Hotspur.

'A small gathering took place ahead of the arrival of the team coaches, and road closures were put in place to facilitate this arrival safely.

Video of woman being 'arrested for sitting on a bench' was 'STAGE-MANAGED by anti-lockdown protesters', Dorset Police claim

A video of a woman apparently being arrested for sitting on a bench was 'staged-managed' by anti-lockdown protesters, Dorset Police said.

Footage, which has been shared widely online, shows three police officers surrounding a woman in Bournemouth for allegedly leaving her house more than once in a day.

The clip then shows a woman being handcuffed and led away by officers as she repeatedly tells them 'I was sitting on a bench'.

But police said they believed the clip was 'planned, stage-managed and recorded' by members of an anti-lockdown protest group who were present in the town on Saturday.

The force said three people were arrested following the demonstrations, after refusing to give their details to officers who attempted to issue them with fines for breaching coronavirus regulations.

Dorset Police's Assistant Chief Constable Mark Callaghan said: 'We believe this video was planned, stage-managed and recorded by members of the protest group who turned up in multiple areas, several of whom refused to engage and provide their details.

'If people refuse to give their details in such circumstances then it leaves officers with little option but to arrest until the details are established.

'Our officers would only arrest as a last resort.'

Two of those detained were later 'de-arrested' after supplying officers with their details and were subsequently fined, police said.

A third person was also released and fined after their details were verified in custody.

The force said at least seven fixed penalty notices were issued to those who breached lockdown rules on the day.

Police made repeated attempts to contact the protest organisers to request that it did not go ahead, but were unsuccessful, Mr Callaghan said.

'It was clear that the group were deliberately organising their activities, walking around in twos and then trying to come together in a 'flash mob' style approach, as they have done previously,' he said in a statement.

'This activity went on for a couple of hours.'

Some of the protesters were found to have remained in the area for a 'prolonged period of time', despite being warned by police.

Mr Callaghan said some of those taking part had also travelled 'considerably' from outside the Dorset area.

'The vast majority of people present were adhering to social distancing measures and those who were not were advised by officers.

'As we have done throughout this pandemic, we will always strive to encourage people to disperse and go home peacefully.

'But where we face blatant breaches of legislation, people ignoring the restrictions and even obstructing police from carrying out their duty, our officers will not hesitate to take enforcement action.

'Those attending have now left the area and we hope everyone enjoys the occasion safely at home.'

Police in Wales have blasted 'selfish Covid rule-breakers' who are 'blatantly' defying the law and wasting police time.

Their criticism came after more than 100 cars were turned away from Moel Famau – on the border between Flintshire and England – by Saturday lunchtime.

A Wales police and crime commissioner vowed to clamp down on rule breakers – and focus on 'enforcement' rather than engagement.

North Wales Police's rural crime team wrote: 'Another day wasted dealing with Covid rule breakers. So frustrating that we have to deal with these people who simply don't care whilst the vast majority of us do the right thing and stay at home We are seeing people from England and various areas of Wales… so selfish.'

The force said people were arrested overnight and taken to custody for failing to provide their details for breaching Covid restrictions.

Superintendent Nick Evans said: 'Wales is under Alert Level 4 restrictions and infections are dangerously high. Our teams will therefore continue to target those who are blatantly breaching the rules, placing others at risk and putting further demand on our over-stretched NHS.

'Level 4 restrictions state that exercise should start and finish from home and that nobody should be travelling unless essential.

'The restrictions are in place to prevent the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. They apply to every single one of us and it's disappointing to think that some do not believe the restrictions apply to them.

'The restrictions are all about nudging back the infection rate, so rule breaking, however small, could cost the life of yours or someone else's loved one. & # 39;

On Friday, two people had to be rescued by the North East Wales Search and Rescue team after becoming 'disorientated' in severe weather conditions during a walk up Moel Famau.

The pair had gone for a walk from home but they raised the alarm by phoning the policing after losing their bearings as conditions deteriorated rapidly due to snow and poor visibility.

Welsh rules allow for fixed penalty notices to be issued ranging from £60 to £10,000. But the region's police and crime commissioner

Welsh police and crime commissioner Arfon Jones said it is time for a tougher approach. He said: 'I would like to commend most people for behaving responsibly at this difficult time but those who choose not to can expect to be held to account.

'Unfortunately, there are far too many selfish people who are flouting the guidelines and they are turbo-charging the spread of this deadly virus.

'Their actions are totally irresponsible and life-threatening. If they have no regard for their own health, they should think of their loved ones.

'It is now time to forget the mantra of engage, encourage and educate and focus on enforcement so we can clamp down on the Covid rule breakers and prevent this reckless behaviour. The stay home and stay safe message is all more important because the new mutant strain of Covid-19 is even more infectious.

'This has inevitably ramped up the threat of community transmission, with 70 per cent of cases in north Wales linked to the new variant. As a consequence, the people of north Wales are at risk like never before.'

Chris Whitty warns hospitals are facing 'the worst crisis in living memory' as Covid cases soar

Chris Whitty has warned hospitals are facing 'the worst crisis in living memory' as Covid-19 cases continue to soar – with 46,000 medical workers now off sick.

Britons who don't take the coronavirus lockdown seriously will cause 'avoidable deaths' when critically ill patients are turned away at the hospital door, Professor Chris Whitty warned in a scathing article for the Sunday Times.

And almost 50,000 hospital workers are currently off sick with Covid-19, according to the chair of the British Medical Association, Chaand Nagpaul, meaning an already stretched workforce is under even more pressure, reported The Guardian.

He said: 'It is only if the NHS workforce is kept fit and well that we will be able to meet the unprecedented surge in demand that the coming weeks and months will bring as well as delivering the vaccine programme that remains our only hope to end this dreadful pandemic.'

Prof Whitty blasted coronavirus rulebreakers for being the 'link in a chain' that will allow the deadly virus to infect a and kill the elderly and vulnerable.

'We must stay home except for work, exercise and necessary activities. Every unneccesary interaction you have could be the link in the chain of transmission which has a vulnerable person at the end,' he wrote.

The country has two weeks before hospitals are likely to be completely overwhelmed, Prof Whitty added, as the nation is plunged into the 'most dangerous situation' in living history.

But it's not just Britons with coronavirus who are at risk, as patients in need of treatment for other illnesses face 'unsafe' waiting times.

NHS hospitals are treating half the usual number of cancer patients, according to The Sunday Telegraph, as London needs to treat 500 more cancer patients a week to stay on top of demand – but only 122 were treated in the capitals NHS hospitals this week.

It could take the NHS six years of 1990-level waiting lists – meaning patients will be forced to wait years for operations – and more than £900million to get back to where healthcare was pre-Covid, according to Rob Findlay, an expert who produced software for nearly 20 NHS trusts.

He told People the 168,000 patients who have waited a year for treatment will more than double by March after lockdown caused operations to be delayed.

Professor Neil Ferguson said the number of patients with coronavirus in hospitals will sour by 20 per cent. "Avoiding another 20,000 deaths will be quite difficult," he added.

A National Police Chiefs Council spokesman said: 'We've been guiding officers since October to move more quickly to issuing a fine where people are clearly breaching Covid regulations and not listening to encouragement.

'This approach continues in this dangerous stage of the pandemic. There is no specific rule on the number of warnings officers should give – officers continue to use their judgement.'

Elsewhere key workers became some of the first to be vaccinated against coronavirus at a mass vaccine hub in Newcastle as the government ramps up distribution of the jabs in the hope of ending lockdown by spring.

It comes after Boris Johnson pledged to vaccinate hundreds of thousands people per day by Friday with the aim of giving 13million the jab before Easter, allowing lockdown restrictions to be significantly loosened.

The mass vaccination hubs – located in Newcastle, Manchester, London, Stevenage, Surrey, Bristol and Birmingham – can treat up to four people per minute and will work alongside GP surgeries and other facilities to try and hit the Prime Minister's ambitious target.

The crackdown comes amid calls from scientists for even stricter restrictions, while No10 pushes an intimidating new ad campaign to try and arrest the spiralling number of coronavirus cases across the country.

In a hard-hitting article in the Sunday Times England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty blasted coronavirus rulebreakers for being the 'link in a chain' that will allow the deadly virus to infect a and kill the elderly and vulnerable.

'We must stay home except for work, exercise and necessary activities. Every unneccesary interaction you have could be the link in the chain of transmission which has a vulnerable person at the end,' he wrote.

The country has two weeks before hospitals are likely to be completely overwhelmed, Prof Whitty added, as the nation is plunged into the 'most dangerous situation' in living history.

While former WHO director Anthony Costello said Britain must go into an 'Asia-style' lockdown now with nurseries and places of worship closed, hotels commandeered as isolation centres and masks worn in every public space, experts have warned.

On Friday, Derbyshire Police faced criticism for taking the lockdown crackdown too far after officers swooped on two friends for driving just seven miles to go for a walk at a beauty spot.

As a result, the 'intimidating' force is reviewing its Covid operations after getting clarification about the rules, with West Mercia Police also mocked for threatening to fine people £200 for playing in the snow.

Nevertheless, the message from Government sources this week is that police should be focusing more on enforcing rather than explaining rules, now nearly 10 months since the very first restrictions came into effect.

In Lincoln, police yesterday fined a man from Chesterfield who it emerged had set a personal goal to try and visit every football ground in the country, despite clear stay-at-home rules.

The driver was pulled over by officers on Friday, close to the cathedral, after a system check revealed the vehicle was registered to an address outside of Lincolnshire.

But when asked what he was doing, police were left bewildered by his response.

Sgt Mike Templeman wrote on Twitter: 'The vehicle was stopped as it was registered in Chesterfield.

'The driver stated he was having a road trip to football grounds around the country.

'You simply couldn't make it up. Covid-19 penalty ticket issued along with the strongest words of advice.'

England's Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has appeared in adverts urging us to stay at home as the new variant of the virus rips across the country.

Two terrifying new posters also show a patient dying in hospital and a healthcare worker wearing full PPE, warning Britons: 'If you go out, you can spread it. People will die.'

In Lincoln, police fined a man from Chesterfield who it emerged had set a personal goal to try and visit every football ground in the country, despite clear stay-at-home rules

In Lincoln, police fined a man from Chesterfield who it emerged had set a personal goal to try and visit every football ground in the country, despite clear stay-at-home rules

Three police officers wearing face masks question a man sitting on a bench in St James's Park in central London this morning

Three police officers wearing face masks question a man sitting on a bench in St James's Park in central London this morning

All car parks in Snowdonia National Park have now been closed to visitors. Pictured is a police car patrolling the beauty spot last night

All car parks in Snowdonia National Park have now been closed to visitors. Pictured is a police car patrolling the beauty spot last night

Police and Covid marshals patrol the seafront in Bournemouth this morning to spot any people breaking the rules

Police and Covid marshals patrol the seafront in Bournemouth this morning to spot any people breaking the rules

One MailOnline reader sent a picture of these taped off benches in Ely, Cambridgeshire, claiming they are not allowed to be used because of the pandemic

One MailOnline reader sent a picture of these taped off benches in Ely, Cambridgeshire, claiming they are not allowed to be used because of the pandemic

The race to vaccinate the UK out of lockdown: Everything you need to know as the first 'super-vax' centres – capable of inoculating up to 3,000 a day – prepare to open their doors

The UK's vaccination programme will take a major step forward tomorrow as the first 'super-vax' centres, capable of inoculating up to 3,000 people a day, open their doors.

Already 1.5million people have been vaccinated, mostly with the Pfizer jab. Now the mass rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine heralds a blitz of inoculations.

With more than 1,300 people dying each day, and the pandemic raging across the country, health workers are locked in a race to protect as many vulnerable people from the deadly virus as quickly as possible.

And with a huge acceleration planned this week, tomorrow could mark the start of a fightback that finally suppresses Covid-19 and, eventually, allows our lives to return to normal.

THE SPRING OFFENSIVE

After the plan to inoculate the 15 million most vulnerable people by February 15, the UK's vaccination programme will target the remaining groups who are most at risk of dying from the virus.

NHS bosses hope this second cohort of more than 16 million people will receive the jab by Easter. If so, it will mean that between 90 and 99 per cent of those at risk of dying from Covid-19 will have been protected. The rest of the population – those under 50 – will then be vaccinated.

Those in the second cohort who will receive the jab during the Spring Offensive are:

  • All people aged 65 and over (3.4 million)
  • All individuals aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
  • Everyone aged 60 and over (3.7 million)
  • Anybody aged 55 years and over (4.3 million)
  • All aged 50 years and over (4.7 million)

HOW THE TARGET WILL BE MET

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) has set the target of offering vaccination to the UK’s 15 million most vulnerable people by February 15. So far, almost 1.5million have received the vaccine

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured) has set the target of offering vaccination to the UK's 15 million most vulnerable people by February 15. So far, almost 1.5million have received the vaccine

Boris Johnson has set the hugely ambitious target of offering vaccination to the UK's 15 million most vulnerable people by February 15 – in 36 days.

The latest figures, from Thursday, show the NHS had administered 1,468,000 vaccinations over 30 days, or 48,933 daily.

The PM has vowed that this will rise to more than 200,000 a day by Friday.

But to hit his 15 million target, the daily rate needs to be almost 347,000. Every day this is missed, the daily requirement goes up.

WHO IS FIRST IN LINE FOR THE JABS?

Those due to receive the jab in the next five weeks include: Care home residents, frontline NHS and social care workers, those aged 70-plus and those considered to be 'clinically extremely vulnerable'.

Of those who have died of Covid-19, 88 per cent are in these groups, All 420,000 elderly social care residents in England and Wales are at the front of the queue and should receive their vaccination by January 31.

One in four people aged over 80 have received at least one dose.

THE STORY SO FAR

On December 8, Margaret Keenan, then 90, pictured, became the first person in the world outside clinical trials to be given the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

Within a fortnight, an estimated 500,000 people had been given the jab, and the UK has ordered a total of 40 million doses.

Margaret Keenan, then 90, pictured, became the first person in the world outside clinical trials to be given the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on December 8

Margaret Keenan, then 90, pictured, became the first person in the world outside clinical trials to be given the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on December 8

Last Monday, Brian Pinker, 82, became the first patient to receive the 'game-changing' vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, which can be kept in a fridge. The UK has 100 million doses on order.

Another 17 million doses of the newly approved Moderna vaccine are expected in the spring.

The UK has outstripped the EU: Four times as many people have been vaccinated here than in Germany, and 300 times more than in France.

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