British Home Secretary Priti Patel has slapped whopping new fines on anyone partying in defiance of COVID-19 lockdown rules.
Speaking at a Downing Street press conference on Thursday, Patel announced anyone caught attending a "house party" of more than 15 people would be given an £800 fine — to be doubled for repeat offenders to a maximum of £6,400.
"We will not stand by while a small number of individuals put others at risk," Patel said.
Previous fines for partygoers had been set at £200. A £10,000 penalty for organisers of house parties and underground raves remains in place.
— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) January 21, 2021
Patel was flanked by NHS England London regional director Dr Vin Diwakar and National Police Chief's Council chairman Martin Hewitt, who listed examples of parties broken up by police.
They included a packed gathering of more than 40 people at a home in east London's famous Brick Lane, a 150-strong Hertfordshire shindig complete with amplifiers and mixing decks, and a site discovered at Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire with a dancefloor and speakers set up ready for late-night ravers.
"This is about saving lives," Hewitt said. "When we see people that are putting others and themselves in danger, we'll not waste time trying to reason with them, they are demonstrating no regard for the safety of others or even themselves."
Almost 38,000 new cases of the virus were recorded across Britain in the previous day, with 1,290 deaths — although that was a sharp fall from Wednesday's figure of 1,820 fatalities, the deadliest day of the UK outbreak so far.