Lockdown rules are “not boundaries to be pushed against”, a government minister has warned – as he admitted there was concern at non-compliance with social distancing measures in supermarkets.

As the second week of England’s third national lockdown begins, ministers are considering how to achieve greater enforcement of social distancing and mask-wearing in supermarkets.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the government doesn’t “want to go any tougher” than the current lockdown rules, but suggested there could be a tightening of existing restrictions.

“The lockdown is actually pretty severe, we’re asking people to stay at home, don’t go out, if you have to go out it’s only for exercise,” he told Sky News.

“This virus loves social interaction and we are all pro-social animals, and it’s the worst thing we do is to socialise.

“So, only going out to exercise for a limited time, stay at home.

“We are concerned that, for example, in supermarkets we need to make sure people actually wear masks and follow the one-way rule in supermarkets.

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“And, of course, when they are at capacity – to operate safely, people wait outside supermarkets.

“We don’t want to go any tougher, because this is a pretty tough lockdown.”

Mr Zahawi urged people to “behave as if they’ve got the virus” over the next few weeks, as the most vulnerable are vaccinated against coronavirus.

“Our plea is to everybody, each and every one of us, these rules are not boundaries to be pushed against,” he added.

Politics

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