Hancock Warns Flexing Of Rules Could Be Fatal

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Hancock Warns Flexing Of Rules Could Be Fatal

Flexing the coronavirus lockdown rules could be fatal, the health secretary has warned as hospital admissions soar.

Matt Hancock did not rule out strengthening current restrictions and told the BBC’s Andrew Marr the NHS was under “very serious pressure”.

It comes after almost 60,000 new cases of coronavirus were reported in the UK on Saturday and the number of deaths after a positive test passed 80,000.

Scientist Prof Peter Horby warned the UK was in “the eye of the storm”.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the rules were tough but “may not be tough enough” and called for the government to hold daily press conferences to avoid “mixed messages”.

The UK recorded another 563 deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test on Sunday, down from 1,065 deaths on Saturday.

However, there tends to be fewer deaths reported on Sundays, due to a reporting lag over the weekend. There were also a further 54,940 daily cases.

Mr Hancock told Andrew Marr “every time you try to flex the rules that could be fatal” and said staying at home was the “most important thing we can do collectively as a society”.

The health secretary said he did not want to speculate on whether the government would further strengthen restrictions, after warnings from scientists on Saturday that they may need to be stricter.

“People need to not just follow the letter of the rules but follow the spirit as well and play their part,” he said.

His comments came after Home Secretary Priti Patel defended police over enforcing lockdown rules following the case of two women who were fined for going for a walk five miles from their homes – a decision which is now under review.

The government has launched a campaign telling people to act like they have got the virus in a bid to tackle the rise in infections.

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Under the national lockdown, people in England must stay at home and can go out only for limited reasons such as food shopping, exercise, or work if they cannot do so from home. Similar measures are in place across much of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

England’s chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty said that if the virus continued on its current trajectory “many hospitals will be in real difficulties, and very soon”.

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In a statement released on Sunday, he said that unless people started to follow the rules more strictly, emergency patients will have to be turned away from hospitals, causing “avoidable deaths”.

Hancock Warns Flexing Of Rules Could Be Fatal

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