Good morning. Ministers are still mulling over whether to tighten certain lockdown regulations – the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg has a useful guide to the main options here – but they are still hoping that they won’t need to, and that instead the power of persuasion, using messaging to get people to limit their social mixing even more, will work.
One part of the message is that the NHS is under unprecedented threat, and that we’re close to the point where if you needed to go to hospital, you might not get looked after properly because beds, staff, equipment and oxygen are all in short supply. That’s why Prof Chris Whitty, the government’s chief medical adviser, was on the airwaves yesterday.
And this morning another part of the message is being amplified; if you don’t obey the rules, you’re increasingly likely to get nicked. This was implicit in a statement issued by the Metropolitan police last week. But just to make the point even more bluntly, Dame Cressida Dick, the Met police commissioner, has been out this morning, with an article in the Times (paywall) and an interview on Today. In her article she says:
It is preposterous to me that anyone could be unaware of our duty to do all we can to stop the spread of the virus. We have been clear that those who breach Covid-19 legislation are increasingly likely to face fines.
We will still be engaging, explaining and encouraging but those who break the rules or refuse to comply where they should without good reason will find officers moving much more quickly to enforcement action.
I will post more from her interview shortly.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: Boris Johnson chairs a virtual meeting of cabinet.
9.30am: The ONS publishes its weekly death figures for England and Wales.
11.30am: Matt Hancock, the health secretary, takes questions in the Commons.
12pm: Downing Street is due to hold its daily lobby briefing.
12.15pm: The Scottish government is expected to hold its daily coronavirus briefing.
Around 1.30pm: Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, makes a statement to MPs about defence support for the Covid response.
Politics Live is now doubling up as the UK coronavirus live blog and, given the way the Covid crisis eclipses everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we will be covering non-Covid political stories too, and when they seem more important or more interesting, they will take precedence.
Here is our global coronavirus live blog.
I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.
If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.