Britons Face $1,000 Fines for Going to House Parties in Lockdown

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People who deliberately flout U.K. lockdown rules and attend house parties will face new fines of as much as 800 pounds ($1,097), Home Secretary Priti Patel announced.

The fine will double for every further breach to a maximum penalty of 6,400 pounds, she said.

“Such irresponsible behavior poses a significant threat to public health,” Patel told a televised news conference in London. “We will not stand by while a small number of individuals put others at risk.”

The new enforcement action will apply to any gatherings of more than 15 people discovered by police, as ministers get tougher on those breaking lockdown restrictions.

The U.K. is in its third national lockdown, with shops, restaurants and schools closed, threatening to push the economy into another recession.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure from some within his own Conservative Party who want him to set out a plan to ease the lockdown as soon as the government meets its target to vaccinate the 15 million most vulnerable people. He wants to achieve that vaccine goal by Feb. 15.

Earlier Thursday Johnson was asked if the lockdown may not be eased until the summer, and did not rule it out, warning only that the new coronavirus strain is “much more contagious.”

Latest government data showed 1,290 people died from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 95,829, the highest death toll in Europe.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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