Boris Johnson’s government called on the British on Tuesday to respect the rules of confinement, given the attitude of those who gather in groups or do not wear a mask in closed places, warning that not doing so “costs lives.”
“We are in a very, very dangerous stage” of the pandemic, warned the Secretary of State for Public Security, Kit Malthouse, in statements to the Sky News channel.
Country worst hit in Europe by the coronavirus, with almost 82,000 deaths and 3.1 million positive cases, the United Kingdom is facing an uncontrolled wave of infections and is currently experiencing its third total confinement.
But “a small minority of people don’t play by the rules and that costs lives,” Malthouse said.
And he warned that the executive is considering stricter measures if the situation does not improve.
The police promised to act more quickly against violators. “But I don’t want people to think that this is some kind of dictatorial force,” Cressida Dick, head of Scotland Yard, told the BBC.
The British Retail Consortium traders association asked the police to help enforce the use of the mandatory mask, but Malthouse said it is not the role of the security forces to intervene in supermarkets.
On Monday, the large supermarket chain Morrisons announced that it will not allow any customers without a mask to enter unless they can show a medical exemption.
Despite the surge in cases, in the UK it is still not mandatory to cover your mouth outdoors and many Britons are against it.
Johnson himself found himself at the center of a controversy over a bicycle ride that took him seven miles from Downing Street on Sunday.
The official slogan is to only leave home for essential reasons, such as shopping or exercising “locally.” The term “local is open to interpretation”, justified Malthouse.
“If you can go out on your own without interacting with anyone, if you’re really exercising … it makes perfect sense to me,” said Dick.
On an unusually sunny day, London’s parks were crowded on Saturday with people gathered in groups when legally only one person is allowed to meet outside and with the obligation to keep two meters apart.