UK prime minister, Boris Johnson will place a ban on groups of more than six people gathering in homes, parks, pubs, and restaurants in England in a bid to stop COVID-19 spike.
The ‘rule of six’ is a dramatic reduction on the limit of 30 which was first put in place on July 4.
The new rule, which comes into force on 14 September, will see first offenders fined £100, which will then double on each repeat offence up to £3,200.
The decision comes after the latest COVID-19 figures revealed there were a further 2,460 confirmed cases in the UK as of 9 am on Tuesday, following 2,948 on Monday and 2,988 on Sunday.
Announcing the new restrictions, Mr Johnson said:-
‘We need to act now to stop the virus spreading. So we are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact – making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce.
‘It is absolutely critical that people now abide by these rules and remember the basics – washing your hands, covering your face, keeping space from others, and getting a test if you have symptoms.’
Discussing the stringent move, Health Secretary, Matt Hancock insisted the public must follow the coronavirus rule saying: ‘Abiding by these rules is absolutely vital to protect life. We’ve seen the increase in the number of cases sadly in the last few days. We’ve seen that across Europe there’s a second wave that many countries have experienced.
‘Some of those countries have then got that second wave under control. If you look at what’s happened in Belgium they saw an increase and then they’ve brought it down, whereas in France and Spain that just hasn’t happened.
‘On the question of the Northern Ireland Protocol the Government has a number of international obligations and the primary amongst those in this context is about protecting the peace process.
‘In the case of coronavirus everybody understands how important it is that we together keep this under control, we can’t do it individually because of the nature of the disease.
‘So, yes, it is incredibly important that everybody follows these new rules and we’ll be bringing in strict enforcement.’
Fines for those who breach the rule will range from £100 to £3,200, the Health Secretary said, adding that there will be exceptions for events such as weddings, funerals and Christenings.
Speaking to Times Radio, Matt Hancock said:-
‘It will be much easier for the police to enforce because the previous rules where you had two households it was much harder to work out what was and wasn’t OK.’
‘We have got to bring in clear, stricter rules this autumn unfortunately to stop the spread of the virus,’ he said.
‘One of the things we heard back including from the police directly was that we needed a simpler set of rules that are very straightforward, (that) everybody can understand, and we will be publishing those rules very clearly and then enforcing against them.’