Boris Johnson could introduce tougher lockdown measures in DAYS if rule breakers continue

Matt Hancock discusses coronavirus risk to those in their 60s

Government insiders have told The Daily Mail there is potential for tighter restrictions after more data is gathered this week. It could include the closure of more businesses, such as outdoor markets.

On Monday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock reiterated Downing Street’s message that the public should act as though they have the virus to reduce transmissions.

Mr Hancock also said he is “confident” of meeting the target of vaccinating around 14 million people in the top four priority groups by the middle of February.

He has described the NHS as under “very serious pressure”. The number of UK deaths following a positive Covid-19 test passed 80,000.

But Mr Hancock hinted that lockdown restrictions are not likely to ease until those aged over 60 have been vaccinated.

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Any tightening of measures could see exercise meetups banned.

The Government insider told The Daily Mail: “’The compliance data is mixed.

“We should have better data by the weekend and at that point we will have to decide whether we need to go further.”

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has warned strict lockdown rules would likely last until spring.

Under new guidance, police can issue £200 on-the-spot fines to someone believed to be in breach of lockdown rules if they refuse to go home at the first time of asking.

Police have issued 45,000 fines to coronavirus rule-breakers so far.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has praised the measures and said they will “save lives”.

“Officers will continue to engage with the public across the country and will not hesitate to take action when necessary,” Ms Patel said.

Speaking on Tuesday, she said a further 1,243 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19, bringing the UK total to 81,960.

A further 45,533 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus were also confirmed in the UK.

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This means the total number of recorded cases in the UK, as of Tuesday, was 3,118,518.

Ms Patel told a press briefing: “In Government, there are endless discussions taking place about the state of coronavirus, support and capacity within the NHS, and also lockdown measures right now.

“We are not going to speculate on anything.

“The fact of the matter is we want people to follow the rules that are in place right now.”

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has also spoken to councils “about the role that they have to play in enforcing the rules”, she said.

Kit Malthouse, Policing Minister, said people have a “duty” to make this lockdown “the last one”.

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