Matt Hancock announces £30 fine for breaching lockdown rules

Matt Hancock

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced a £30 minimum fine for people found to be in breach of the new lockdown measures that have been introduced by the Government.

Mr Hancock said that the new measures were to be taken as strict rules and not just advice, as the UK battles to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Addressing MPs in the House of Commons, he said "The spread of Coronavirus is rapidly accelerating across the world and in the UK.

"The actions we took yesterday are not actions that any UK government would want to take but they are absolutely necessary.

"Our instruction is simple: stay at home."

He said that people should only be leaving the house for four reasons - to shop for essential items such as food or medicines, for one form of exercise per day, for a medical need or to care for a vulnerable person, or to travel to work.  He stressed that people should only leave the house if it is absolutely necessary.

Mr Hancock said "These measures are not advice, they are rules and will be enforced including by the police, with fines starting at £30 up to unlimited fines for non-compliance.

"We are engaged in a great national effort to beat this virus, everybody now has it in their power to save lives and protect the NHS.

"Home is now the front line.  In this national effort, working together, we can defeat this disease, everyone has a part to play."

The Prime Minister has ordered people to stay in their homes, and not to leave unless it's absolutely necessary.  Gatherings of more than two people in public have been banned unless they come from the same household.  All non essential stores have now also been ordered to close.

Social distancing advice has been largely ignored in many places which has prompted the Government to put the strict new measures in place.  Large crowds of people have been seen hanging around parks and beaches in the South East of England.

The PM said during a live address to the nation from Downing Street last night "You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say no. You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home."

Venues such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, libraries, gyms, playgrounds, places of worship and even hotels have now been ordered to close until further notice.  The new stricter measures will remain in place for a minimum of three weeks.

Responding to criticism of the London tube network still being busy this morning, Mayor Sadiq Khan said, "I cannot say this more strongly: we must stop all non-essential use of public transport now. Ignoring these rules means more lives lost."

All of the UK's mobile networks have committed to sending out Government text messages to their customers in order to inform people about the new guidelines.

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