Fines for breaking coronavirus rules are set to soar as police are urged to get “stuck in” and start handing out penalties in a tougher approach.
Instead of encouraging Brits to stick to the restrictions, they will move faster and fine more offenders under a new government crackdown.
It comes as the UK saw a record daily rise in Covid-19 infections on Tuesday, with more than 7,000 new cases.
Ministers are said to be growing frustrated at people who are still ignoring the regulations, including following the rule of six and wearing face coverings on public transport.
Tough new rules will see fines of up to £10,000 dished out to anyone refusing to self-isolate when told to do so.
A government source told the Telegraph: "The solution is very much about the police getting stuck in.
“Cases are increasing and more people are dying."
A senior police source told the newspaper people have “had six months to understand what encouraging is”, so officers will “skip that phase” and go straight to enforcing.
The source added: “What that should mean across the board is a relatively marked, short-term rise in fixed penalty notices being given out."
But the clampdown also comes amid widespread confusion over the patchwork of different rules in areas across the country.
Even Boris Johnson on Tuesday was left confused by the new regulations which are now in place in the north east.
The Prime Minister was forced to apologise after he “misspoke” when asked to clarify the new Covid rules in the region about whether revellers could meet in a pub garden.
He was widely criticised for the gaffe.
UK records highest ever daily increase in Covid infections as cases rise by more than 7,000
Nick Forbes, the Labour leader of Newcastle City Council, said: "You can't just bluster your way through situations like this – making it up as you go has massive consequences, confuses people and undermines the very public health goals both local and central government are trying to achieve."
But senior Tory MP Bernard Jenkin, the chairman of the Liaison Committee, defended the PM on Wednesday by saying he doesn’t need to know everything about the restrictions.
He told Times Radio: “Frankly for him to hold in his head everything that is happening in every corner of the country would be quite a tall order.”
But he repeated calls, which are growing from Tory backbenchers, for Parliament to consider any new restrictions.
The PM is due to give a press conference later on Wednesday alongside the Government’s top scientists, Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
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