Police to Crack Down on Virus Rule-Breakers as U.K. Cases Surge

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Pandemic rule-breakers face more fines in the U.K. as police officers step up enforcement and ministers consider tougher restrictions to tackle a surge in coronavirus infections.

“The police are going to be very high profile,” U.K. policing and crime minister Kit Malthouse said on Times Radio on Tuesday. “It’s certainly the case that they’ll move more quickly to enforce.”

Almost 82,000 people across the U.K. have died from the disease, and hospital admissions have surged 22% in a week as a new faster-spreading variant takes hold.

The government is weighing tougher rules on socializing to counter the spread of disease, but for now the government is doubling down on its stay-at-home order and more robust policing.

“Those who breach Covid-19 legislation are increasingly likely to face fines,” London’s Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick wrote in the Times newspaper. “It is preposterous to me that anyone could be unaware of our duty to do all we can to stop the spread of the virus.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson risked undermining the compliance message by taking a bike ride seven miles across London on Sunday, though his ministers later said doing so was within the rules.

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