Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the vast majority of people who went out on ‘Super Saturday’ were “doing the right thing” and following social distancing. Speaking on Sky’s Ridge On Sunday, Mr Hancock said: “Well I think that from what I’ve seen, although there’s some pictures to the contrary, very, very largely people have acted responsibly.” He added: “So overall I’m pleased with what happened yesterday. It was really good to see people out and about and largely, very largely social distancing.”
But Sky News’ Sophy Ridge questioned the Health Secretary’s comments as she confronted him with the chairman of the Police Federation John Apter’s concerns following concerning scenes reported on Super Saturday across England.
She said: “You say you are pleased with what happened but one person who is rather less pleased is John Apter, the chair of the Police Federation.
“He was out on a night shift in Southampton.
“He tweeted saying that what was crystal clear is that ‘drunk people can’t/won’t socially distance’.
“Now we know that the rate of infections, the R rate, is creeping up. It could even be above one in London.
“Is it really a sensible thing to reopen pubs?”
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Mr Hancock said “the large proportion of people, the vast majority of people are, I think, doing the right thing”.
He added: “But of course we’ll take action when we need to when… if the minority break the rules.”
On those who did not social distance, Mr Hancock said: “Well we’ll, of course, keep this very closely under review, and you’ve seen for instance in Leicester but also in other places that we don’t shirk from bringing in more drastic measures if that is what’s needed to control the virus.”
John Apter said it was “crystal clear” revellers would not adhere to the one metre plus rule as restrictions were eased on Saturday.
Professor Chris Whitty said the pandemic “is a long way from gone” and urged the public to follow social-distancing rules as pubs and restaurants reopened.
But images from London’s Soho showed packed streets into the early hours of Sunday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Government experts urged people to stick to the rules to avoid creating a second wave of coronavirus.
Speaking on Friday, Prof Whitty said: “None of us believes, and I’m sure nobody watching this believes this is a risk-free next step. It is absolutely not, that is why we have to be really serious about it.
“There’s no doubt these are environments whose principal job it is to bring people together, that’s a great thing to do socially but it’s also a great thing from the virus’s point of view.
“Therefore, we do have to have a really clear and really disciplined approach to try and maintain social distancing whilst also enjoying pubs.”