British public makes 'no effort' to socially distance in the street, says minister

Will Taylor
 A woman wearing a face mask as a precaution walking past a social distancing sign on Oxford Street. Most shops, restaurants and businesses have closed as the second month-long nationwide Covid 19 lockdown begins in England. (Photo by Vuk Valcic / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A lord has complained the public is not sticking to the two metre social distancing rule. (Photo by Vuk Valcic / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

“No effort” is being made by people to social distance in the street, a government minister has complained.

Lord Nicholas True told the House of Lords that he “frequently notes” the public has not been keeping the recommended distance of two metres where possible.

The cabinet office minister said this was in “sharp contrast” to the first lockdown.

Speaking during a discussion about the UK’s four nations and their coronavirus policies, Conservative Lord Haselhurst said the government “is fighting an invisible and still not fully understood enemy”.

Watch: Face masks make people more willing to take social distancing risks

He added that with the publicity of “conflicting expert opinions... there really does have to be great restraint exercised if we’re to help to bolster public resolve, which in the end is what we all depend if this virus is to be defeated”.

Lord True said: “A lot does rest on us ourselves, in the way we behave and in our sense of responsibility and common resolve, and we should not let that flag.

“I frequently note now as I walk down the road people make no effort to social distance at all, which is in sharp contrast to the observance of space that was practised in the original lockdown.

“Those items of washing your hands, giving space and observing the rules are very important.”

Crossbencher Baroness Meacher asked for parents of schoolchildren who are “at exceptional risk” from the coronavirus to be put at “the front of the queue” for a COVID-19 vaccine.

“If not, we can expect excess deaths amongst these relatively young parents,” she said.

Read more: Britain and other nations press on with AstraZeneca vaccine amid trial questions

Lord True said he would put the idea to officials.

His complaint on Friday came a day after England’s local authorities found out which of three tiers they will be placed into when lockdown ends on 2 December.

All but three are in tiers that mostly ban socialising with other households indoors.

Watch: The tier system explained

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