Passengers who packed out trains to leave London after latest restriction announcement branded 'totally irresponsible'

Passengers who crowded on to trains to escape the tightening of Covid-19 restrictions in London have been branded "totally irresponsible" by the Health Secretary.

Matt Hancock condemned the busy scenes on Saturday night which came after the Prime Minister announced tougher coronavirus measures for the capital.

Extra police officers are to be deployed to enforce travel rules at London's stations, with the public being urged to adhere to Government guidance.

Hide Ad

The packed out trains came after Boris Johnson placed millions of people living in Tier 3 parts of London, the South-east and East of England in a new Tier 4.

London St Pancras on Saturday evening, shortly after Boris Johnson's emergency coronavirus update. Picture: Harriet Clugston
Hide Ad

The changes, which came into force at midnight on Saturday, mean households mixing over Christmas is banned, travel into or out of Tier 4 areas is only permitted for very limited reasons and overnight stays away from home are largely prohibited.

Appearing on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Mr Hancock said: "I think those scenes were totally irresponsible.

Hide Ad

"We have all got a responsibility.

Read More
Police Scotland to double its presence in border areas as new restrictions are p...
Hide Ad

"We in Government of course have a responsibility, but so does every single person.

"The plea that I have is that people will play their part, because it is only by acting, all of us, that we can get this under control."

Hide Ad

In a statement, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it was "incredibly important" that people followed guidance, stayed at home and did not try to travel.

He added: "If you are in Tier 4, the law means you must stay at home and you cannot stay overnight away from home.

Hide Ad

"Across the rest of the country, you must stay local.

"Follow the guidance and please do not come to a station unless you are permitted to travel.

Hide Ad

"Extra BTP (British Transport Police) officers are being deployed to ensure only those who need to take essential journeys can travel safely."

Despite people now living under Tier 4 restrictions being told not to travel unless essential, Eurostar tickets sold out in less than hour this morning, amid suggestions France was likely to ban UK travellers.

Hide Ad

At 11.50am there were seats available on the three Eurostar trains leaving London for Paris today, at 12.24pm, 13.31pm and 7.01pm. Less than an hour later all Eurostar tickets were sold out for Sunday.

Mr Shapps' message was echoed in a statement from the Government's Christmas transport tsar, Sir Peter Hendy.

Hide Ad

Sir Peter said: "At stations we will be deploying extra staff, announcements will make the law clear, and additional BTP officers are in place to ensure that only essential journeys take place.

"People considering driving should also stay at home or stay local. The new restrictions mean that people should not travel into or out of Tier 4 areas, and across the country you should stay local.

Hide Ad

"You should play your part in tackling the spread of this virus."

Public Health England's, Dr Susan Hopkins said she hoped travellers would reduce their contacts for the next few days to avoid spreading coronavirus.

Hide Ad

She told the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show: "I hope that when they go to wherever they are moving to they reduce their social contacts and don't contact anyone outside their household for the next 10 days.”

Reporting by PA

Hide Ad

A message from the Editor:Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.

Comments

 0 comments

Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.