Health Secretary Matt Hancock has branded Londoners trying to flee the capital on Saturday evening as using ‘totally irresponsible behaviour’.
The comments on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme came after the implementation of new Tier 4 measures for London and areas of the East and South-East of England equivalent to the nationwide lockdown that took place in November.
Footage shared on social media showed trains leaving London last night as crammed with limited social distancing.
Responding to a question about packed stations on Sky News on Sunday, Mr Hancock said;
“This was clearly totally irresponsible behaviour, the chief medical officer was absolutely clear that people should unpack their bags if they had them packed.”
He added that there was increased importance for people to follow the rules, describing the situation as ‘deadly serious’.
Under the new restrictions, travel to and from Tier 4 areas is banned, except for essential reasons. However, large numbers of people are feared to have left areas being placed in Tier 4 between the announcement at 4pm and implementation at midnight – risking the new strain of COVID-19 being spread to other parts of the country.
The Tier 4 measures will be reviewed on 30 December, but with cases rising and the new variant of the virus being described as ‘out of control’ by the Health Secretary, it is thought that the new measures could be in place for much longer.