Matt Hancock criticises "totally irresponsible behaviour" of people fleeing London for Christmas
Christmas is cancelled
Matt Hancock has criticised the hundreds of people who fled London on Saturday to get home in time for Christmas, saying it was "totally irresponsible behaviour."
On Saturday afternoon, prime minister Boris Johnson announced the government's latest u-turn, cancelling Christmas by introducing new 'tier 4' restrictions in London and the south-east, effective from Sunday morning.
The new restrictions means the 'five day window' of freedom that the government announced weeks ago would be scrapped, leaving millions with their festive plans in ruin.
Unsurprisingly, this sparked a rush to get home before the new rules came in. A viral video displayed queues at St Pancras station reminiscent of the pre-pandemic rush hour.
“This was clearly totally irresponsible behaviour.”
Health Secretary @MattHancock responds to footage of a packed train station in London, as people tried to flee the city ahead of tougher new #coronavirus rules.#Ridge: https://t.co/2MKcjSQOZZ pic.twitter.com/6F6qWp8VHm
— Trevor Phillips on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) December 20, 2020
Speaking to Sky's Sophy Ridge, the health secretary 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.
"I think it's relatively small numbers, and the large, vast majority of people throughout this whole pandemic have followed the rules, been responsible and played their part. And I want to thank everybody for doing that.
"It is more important than ever that people are responsible. Not only stick to the rules, but even within the rules, restrict social contact as much as is possible, because this is deadly serious."
Three days is a long time in politics pic.twitter.com/qNEso0dyJM
— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) December 19, 2020
All 32 London boroughs and the City of London will go into Tier 4.
In the South East, Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings will all movie into the new tier.
In the East of England Bedford, Central Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire, Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring) will be subject to the new restrictions.
Merry Christmas everyone.