Northamptonshire holidaymaker fined for ignoring quarantine rules despite fears over Brazilian Covid variant
Police fielded 300-plus calls over weekend breaches — including one business open when it shouldn't be
Police blasted lockdown rulebreakers after fielding nearly 350 reports of people breaching Covid-19 restrictions over the weekend.
One of the 114 fines issued went to a traveller for ignoring quarantine rules after returning to the UK — despite fears over importing more transmissable variants of the Covid strain.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed yesterday the search for an individual infected with the P1 Covid variant first found in Brazil has narrowed to 379 households in south-east England after one of six people identified as having bought it into the country.
Another ticket went to a business which remained open in defiance of rules keeping non-essential shops and services shut.
Assistant Chief Constable Simon Blatchly, who is leading Northamptonshire Police's pandemic response, Operation Talia, admitted: “It is so disappointing to still find people willing to break these rules."
Boris Johnson setting target dates for lifting the lockdown, falling case rates and a successful vaccine roll-out and decent weather at the weekend all combined to tempt people outside.
That resulted in 36 people landing £200 fines for unnecessary journeys and 33 receiving £200 fines for mixing indoors — including 13 at East Carlton Park near Corby.
The rest went to people for illegal gatherings indoors and not wearing a face mask.
ACC Blatchly added: "We remain in national lockdown and the rules we have been living under since January continue to apply — even at the weekends or when the sun is shining.
"These rules exist to keep the most vulnerable among us as safe as possible from the virus, which is still killing people every day.
“These vulnerable people are our loved ones, our family and friends, our neighbours and colleagues.
"By breaking the rules you are deliberately choosing to put them in harm’s way. You are also risking driving infection rates back up and therefore making it more likely that restrictions will have to remain in place for longer than the provisional dates given by government.
“Everyone wants life to return to a more normal state, which means continuing to follow the rules until they are lifted.
"Until then, we will do all in our power to make sure anyone choosing to break them is brought to account.”
A total of 339 Covid-related incidents were reported in Northamptonshire between Friday and Sunday resulting in 114 fines.
The Prime Minister announced last week that schools will fully reopen classrooms from next week and restrictions will be eased to allow two people to exercise together.
But most of the 'Stay At Home' orders will remain in force until non-essential shops are allowed to reopen — which will not be until April 17 at the earliest.