Coronavirus UK update live: Latest news as supermarkets crack down on mask rules


Boris Johnson warns of stricter Covid restrictions in England

As the possibility for tougher coronavirus lockdown restrictions grows with rising infection rates across the UK, Boris Johnson is facing backlash after he was spotted cycling in a park seven miles form Downing Street over the weekend.

It comes after two women were handed £200 fines for driving five miles to a beauty spot near their homes in Derbyshire to go for a walk. Government guidance for England states that people may leave their homes to exercise once a day, but discourages them from travelling “outside your local area” to do so.

Meanwhile, supermarkets are cracking down on customers who refuse to wear a face mask and ignoring social distancing rules while shopping for essentials amid “deep” concerns from food retail workers over their own safety.

Morrisons said on Monday that customers who refuse to comply with mask-wearing guidance without a medical exemption will be asked to leave the store, and Sainsbury’s confirmed it will post trained security guards at entrances to “challenge” customers not wearing a mask or shopping in groups.

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Hospital secretaries drafted in to help on wards

Hospitals are calling for “immediate additional staff” to help with the surge of coronavirus patients, with plans to bring in students, social care workers and even secretaries.

Health chiefs have warned that the NHS is facing its most dangerous moment ever, as statistics showed there were more than 32,000 Covid patients in hospitals.

Documents seen by The Independent show that NHS bosses have set out a plan for mass redeployment of manpower as wards are overwhelmed. Our Health Correspondent Shaun Lintern has the exclusive story:

Kate Ng12 January 2021 09:40

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Covid rule-breakers increasingly likely to be fined, says Met police chief

Dame Cressida Dick has said it was “preposterous” that anyone could be unaware of the need to follow coronavirus regulations and rule-breakers are “increasingly likely” to face fines.

My colleague Chiara Giordano reports:

Kate Ng12 January 2021 09:25

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‘Scotch egg moment’

The policing minister told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that people need to use their “common sense” when following lockdown rules.

Kit Malthouse said: “If you’re getting coffee on your way to do exercise, or as part of your acquiring food, or one of those reasons you’re allowed to be out of the house, then that is legitimate.

“This is one of those Scotch egg moments, where it’s very hard for us legislators to legislate for every single nuance of human behaviour.

“What we are relying on is people having a common sense of themselves of what they think is appropriate.”

Kate Ng12 January 2021 09:12

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Police will ‘move more quickly’ to enforce Covid regulations

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has told the BBC that police will be quicker to enforce coronavirus rules and fine people who break them.

She said: “We have said last week, and again today, that we are moving more quickly to enforcement.

“We will move more quickly to enforcement, and particularly where somebody is breaking the law, breaking the regulations, and if it is absolutely clear that they must have known, or do know that they are, then we will move very swiftly to enforcement and fining people.”

Kate Ng12 January 2021 09:00

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New Zealand to require travellers to show negative Covid test

New Zealand is set to impose a rule that will require travellers from most countries to show a negative coronavirus test within 72 hours of departure – which is already required in a number of countries.

Chris Hipkins, New Zealand’s Covid-19 response minister, said the country is in  fortunate position to have stamped out community spread of the virus but is taking nothing for granted.

The rules will apply to US and UK travellers from Friday, and most other countries soon after, except Australia and some Pacific nations.

Kate Ng12 January 2021 08:55

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Watch: Policing minister says seven-mile bike ride is ‘local’

Policing minister says seven-mile bike ride is ‘local’

Kate Ng12 January 2021 08:40

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Britons arriving from UAE must self-isolate after travel corridor removed

All passengers arriving from Dubai and other emirates of the UAE will now have to self-isolate, as the Gulf state has been removed from the “travel corridors” list that gives exemption from quarantine to arrivals in the UK.

Anyone arriving after 4am on Tuesday 12 January must self-isolate for 10 days. People living in England can take a Covid test after five days and end their quarantine if the result is negative.

Our Travel Correspondent Simon Calder has further details:

Kate Ng12 January 2021 08:30

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All supermarkets should follow Morrisons’ action, says policing minister

Kit Malthouse, the policing minister, has said that all supermarkets should follow Morrisons’ tougher action in enforcing the wearing of masks in stores.

Asked why he thought supermarkets have not done it so far, Mr Malthouse told Times Radio: “I think that, understandably, following the November lockdown there was an element of release and therefore the person at the door, the sanitation station, the traffic light system, the queues outside obviously receded a bit.

“What we hope now, and I know all of them will, that they’ll see their responsibility and start to put those things back in place.”

When asked whether police should intervene, he said some officers have issued fines in retail settings, adding: “What we hope is the vast majority of people, or everybody, will be encouraged to do so by the shop owner.”

Kate Ng12 January 2021 08:15

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Supermarkets should ban non-mask wearers from stores, says Matt Hancock

The health secretary has said that supermarkets should impose a ban on shoppers who refuse to wear face coverings, and praised Morrisons for taking strong action against such customers.

Matt Hancock said it was the “right approach” as the coronavirus crisis worsens. Sainsbury’s has also said it will post trained security guards at entrances to “challenge” any customers not wearing a mask or shopping in groups.

Our Deputy Political Editor Rob Merrick has the details:

Kate Ng12 January 2021 08:10

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Boris Johnson under fire after being spotted cycling seven miles from Downing St

The prime minister is facing heat after he was spotted cycling in a park seven miles from Downing Street this weekend.

Boris Johnson’s ride sparked anger on social media, amid confusion over government guidance which says people should “not travel outside your local area” for their exercise.

Our Political Editor Andrew Woodcock reports:

Kate Ng12 January 2021 08:07



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