Matt Hancock has supported stricter police enforcement of the lockdown, warning that “any flexibility” in the rules could prove fatal.
The health minister said the majority of people “follow the rules” to stay at home but refused to criticize police over complaints that some armed forces were eager to distribute fines.
Police tactics came under scrutiny after Derbyshire police fined £ 200 fines to two women who drove separately to walk in a remote beauty spot about five miles from their homes.
Police have since confirmed that they will be reviewing any firm criminal charges issued during the new national lockdown in England after obtaining clarification on coronavirus regulations from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) following the incident.
Asked about the Derbyshire Police’s approach, Mr Hancock told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “I will definitely support the police as the challenge here is that any flex can be deadly.”
“You could look at the rules and think,” Well, it doesn’t matter so much whether I do this or that. “
“But these rules are not there to cross borders, they are the limit for what people should do.
“The police rightly take the rules that we have introduced very seriously. We did not introduce them because we wanted to, we introduced them because we had to.”
“Any flexibility can be fatal.”
The comments come after Home Secretary Priti Patel also assisted those on the front lines in overseeing the lockdown, stressing that “strong enforcement is needed when people are clearly breaking these rules” and praising officials “not would hesitate to “take action”.
John Apter, chairman of the Federation of Police of England and Wales, said at the BBC breakfast that a review was needed following the incident in Derbyshire and called for more clarity on ministers’ guidance.
Susan Michie, a professor of health psychology at University College London who participates in Independent Sage, asked if the stringent restrictions needed to go further.
“We have to get into a situation if we are to get this virus under control and prevent the tens of thousands of preventable deaths that we are seeing over the next few weeks. We absolutely have to go back to where we were in March, unfortunately, ”she told the BBC.
Cabinet Secretary Hancock said the government was well on track to meet its target of 13 million people vaccinated by mid-February.
He said 200,000 people would be vaccinated a day, with the opening of mass vaccination centers this week likely to increase the rate of shocks.
A third of those over 80 have now vaccinated, he confirmed.
Mr Hancock told Sky News that the country will likely see a joint vaccination program for the foreseeable future.
“I think it is very likely that for the foreseeable future – this is in the medium term – there will be a double vaccination program for flu and Covid,” he added.