How could lockdown be stricter?

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Lockdown measures were reintroduced last week following a sharp rise in coronavirus cases and concerns about the pressure on the NHS. Now the official coronavirus death toll in the UK has risen to more than 80,000 with lab-confirmed cases passing the three million mark, and some experts have criticised the current lockdown measures as not strict enough.

Hospitals are facing increasing pressure, with the number of Covid-19 positive patients in hospital at a record high in England.

This comes as medics are warning the full impact of Britons being allowed to mix over the Christmas period has not yet been seen.

Dr Simon Walsh, deputy chair of the British Medical Association’s consultants’ committee and a London-based emergency care doctor said the epidemiology from the previous wave indicates the situation is likely to deteriorate over the next two to three weeks.

He told BBC Breakfast: “I’m afraid all of us who are working on the front line believe – and this is based on the evidence, I’m afraid – that it is going to get worse before it gets better.”

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The current lockdown has been branded “too lax” by a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).

Prof Michie, who is part of Independent Sage, told Today: “It is definitely too lax, because if you think about it and compare ourselves with March, what do we have now?

“We have the winter season and the virus survives longer in the cold, plus people spend more time indoors and we know aerosol transmission, which happens indoors, is a very big source of transmission for this virus.

“And secondly, we have this new variant which is 50 to 70 percent more infectious.

“You put those two things together, alongside the NHS being in crisis, we should have a stricter rather than less strict lockdown than we had back in March.”

How could lockdown be stricter?

While the closure of schools, non-essential businesses and a stay at home order may seem strict to some, there are ways the Government could tighten rules further.

Currently, lockdown measures allow for Britons to leave home for exercise once per day, and to meet one person from another household to do so if on their own.

However a stricter lockdown could see this banned, and Britons could potentially be only allowed to head outside with members of their own household.

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Britain could also follow the likes of France and a curfew could be implemented to limit time allowed outside.

Currently, France has placed a curfew of 6pm in areas where coronavirus cases are continuing to be reported and 8pm elsewhere.

This means those in the affected areas cannot leave home after this time in a bid to drive positive cases down.

Fines could also be upped for those not following the rules and more police seen patrolling, with Home Secretary Priti Patel promising “strong” enforcement of lockdown rules.

A Home Office source told The Telegraph there would be a more “rapid movement to enforcement” around the issuing of £200 fines for those not following the rules.

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.

“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.”

Police forces across the country have shown how they have been more active in dealing with breaches.

Norfolk Police said it had fined a man and a woman who drove more than 120 miles from their home in Wellingborough in Northamptonshire to Horsey in Norfolk to look at a seal colony.

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