Monday 21 December 2020

25 million people in England put under house arrest via press conference

 Londoners risk being arrested if they try to flee tier 4 lockdown


19 December, 2020

Londoners could risk being arrested for trying to escape the city as travel in and out of Tier 4 is outlawed from today. 

The strict new travel rules come into place after midnight as the capital and South East England are plunged into the new harshest restrictions. 

Boris Johnson said people should not enter or leave tier four areas and residents must not stay overnight away from home. 

Tier four rules also mirror the national lockdown in November with people being told to stay in their houses except if they have to make an essential journey, the PM said. 

The legislation setting out what exact regulations tier four will involve has not yet been published and has not yet been agreed by parliament. 

But if the law bans people going in and out of the area, rule-breakers may be treated in the same way as others who have fallen foul of Covid regulations. 

Police have been given powers to fine people caught breaking the rules and, if someone continues to ignore the instructions, officers can arrest them if they think it is proportionate and necessary. 

Hundreds of people have already been arrested under the legislation since the pandemic began, mostly for attending protests or parties which broke laws that prohibit mass gatherings. 

Anyone thinking of leaving a tier four area tonight has been advised to ‘unpack their bags’ amid fears people could spread the mutant strain of the virus around the country. 

Map shows which areas are in which tiers after midnight on Saturday (Picture: 

Those planning to get out before the deadline won’t be breaking the law but have been strongly advised not to travel. 

The chief medical officer Chris Whitty was asked at the Downing Street press conference what he would say to people who may have already packed their bags and are ready to leave London and the South East tonight. He said: ‘My short answer would be, please unpack it at this stage. 

The reason for that is if you look at the South East, if you look at the East of England and look at London, there has been a really dramatic increase in the proportion of the cases that we see when we do the screening tests, which are not absolutely exact but pretty accurate, which would imply that in the South East, 43% of the virus is now this new variant. 

‘In the East of England it’s 59% and in London 62%. The numbers may vary slightly but those are broadly right. And those have gone up very very fast, over the last few weeks. So this has really gone incredibly quickly. They are much lower in other areas of the country.’

The Prime Minister was asked how strictly police will be enforcing the new rules during the press conference. 

He said: ‘I think the police have done an amazing job of enforcement – light touch enforcement – they have handed out lots of fixed penalty notices for breaches of the rules.

 ‘They have also helped people keep overwhelmingly in line with what they need to do – I really thank the police men and women up and down the country for what they are doing and they’ll continue to do it in the same way throughout this period. 

‘Above all, I’m sure people will naturally want to do it themselves as they have done throughout this crisis. 

The bulk of the population take this incredibly seriously and get it right and they will continue to do so.’ Londoners have been warned not to travel, except for essential journeys 

People living in tier one, two and three areas have also been issued new advice on whether they should travel to spend Christmas Day with relatives. 

Bubble rules have been slashed so households can only meet up on December 25 itself and everyone is being told to stay local. Mr Johnson said: ‘People should carefully consider whether they need to travel abroad and they should follow the rules in their tier. 

‘Those in tier four areas will not be permitted to travel abroad, apart from limited exceptions such as for work purposes.’

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