Flexing lockdown rules ‘could be fatal’: UK health secretary

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned that flexing the Covid-19 lockdown rules “could be fatal,” urging the general public to stay at home amid surging coronavirus infections.

“Every time you try to flex the rules that could be fatal” and staying at home was the “most important thing we can do collectively as a society,” Hancock told the BBC on Sunday.

Hancock did not rule out strengthening restrictions amid calls from scientists that the current rules need to be stricter, admitting that the National Health Service (NHS) was under “very serious pressure”, Xinhua news agency reported.

“People need to not just follow the letter of the rules but follow the spirit as well and play their part,” he said.

Another 54,940 people in Britain have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 3,072,349, according to official figures released Sunday.

Another 563 have died within 28 days of a positive test, bringing the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Britain to 81,431, the data showed.

The latest figures were revealed one day after Britain surpassed the grim milestones of 3,000,000 cases and 80,000 deaths on Saturday.

Scientists advising the British government warned that the current lockdown measures in England need to be “stricter” to achieve the same impact as the shutdown in March 2020.

Robert West, who sits in the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours, which advises the British government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said Saturday that the current rules were “still allowing a lot of activity which is spreading the virus.”

West said due to the new variant of coronavirus, which is said to be up to 70 per cent more infectious, the lockdown measures need to be tougher.

England is currently under the third national lockdown since the pandemic began in the country. To bring life back to normal, countries such as Britain, China, Germany, Russia and the United States have been racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccines.