Priti Patel leads coronavirus press conference as police step up Covid rule enforcement

Priti Patel is leading a coronavirus press conference from Downing Street this afternoon, with an update expected on policing England's lockdown restrictions.

At the press conference the home secretary is be joined by Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Martin Hewitt and Dr Vin Diwakar, NHS Medical Director for London. 

The coronavirus update comes as police across the country step up their efforts to enforce lockdown measures, after widespread reports of people breaking the rules by socialising in groups and shopping without face coverings.

Ms Patel tweeted on Monday, saying the "tragic number of new cases and deaths last 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".

She added: "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 Minister Kit Malthouse told ITV News officers had already handed out more than 30,000 fines so far during the pandemic, but said forced do need to think about moving to enforcement much more quickly".

Britain’s most senior police officer, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, warned coronavirus rule-breakers they are “increasingly likely” to face fines as forces move “more quickly” to enforce lockdown restrictions.

It has not yet been revealed who, if anyone, will be joining Ms Patel at the Downing Street press conference.

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