UK (Sky News)

Coronavirus: Police shut down 494 house parties in four days in Greater Manchester

By May 13, 2020 No Comments

Police in Greater Manchester say they were called to 494 house parties in four days as people continue to flout the coronavirus lockdown.

The force has released maps showing the 1,132 incidents they were called to from 25 March to 7 April.

MANCHESTER,  - MARCH 26: A giant television over the A57 Motorway urges people to stay home on March 26, 2020 in Manchester, England. British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced strict lockdown measures urging people to stay at home and only leave the house for basic food shopping, exercise once a day and essential travel to and from work. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to at least 182 countries, claiming over 10,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Image:A giant television over the A57 in Manchester urges people to stay home

However, one map shows there were a huge number of house parties as the weather warmed up last weekend.

The Manchester Evening News reported that DJs, fireworks and bouncy castles were found by police.

The maps show 166 street parties, 122 group gatherings for sporting activities, 173 gatherings in parks and 112 incidents of anti-social behaviour/public disorder also took place.

It comes as a selection of Manchester celebrities have shot home-made videos to urge people to stay at home over Easter because of coronavirus.

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Michael Carrick, Manchester City’s Steph Houghton, Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder and Coronation Street’s Dan Brocklebank have lent their support to the initiative, coordinated by police.

The videos, to be released across the long weekend, also feature key workers in the fight against COVID-19 including a nurse, a teacher, and police officers and staff.

It is hoped the campaign will stop people ignoring restrictions over the Easter weekend when the weather will again be warm and dry in many places.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned the lockdown could become stricter if some people continue to ignore the rules.

Police disperse cricket game in London park
Police disperse cricket game in London park

“Although the majority of the public across Greater Manchester have abided by the guidelines since they came into effect, last weekend saw a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 breaches reported to police,” Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.

“Following this, high-profile voices from across Greater Manchester have joined together to support the #StayHomeSaveLives campaign to reinforce the importance of the government message to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

The country is relying on the NHS to get through the pandemic
Image:The country is relying on the NHS to get through the pandemic

“Traditionally, Easter weekend sees increased activity in and around public spaces – including places of worship, beauty spots and town centres – as well as large gatherings of families and friends at residential properties.

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“This year celebrations will differ, as we continue to follow government guidelines and stay at home in an effort to help limit the transmission of COVID-19.”

Meanwhile, Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley said his force is only “a few days away” from introducing measures such as road blocks and searching shopping trolleys as people continue to flout the coronavirus regulations.

He said a “three-week grace period” is over in the county and the force will now be issuing fines and arresting people breaking the rules.

Celebrities say thank you to NHS
Dozens of stars say ‘thank you’ to NHS

The comments were branded “outrageous” by UK civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, which compared the measures to a “police state”.

Mr Adderley said forces are “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” when it comes to policing the new rules, and he added that government guidance on how to police the rules “could be even clearer”.

Senior ministers are set to decide whether to “enhance or change” UK lockdown rules at an emergency summit next week, one of them has told Sky News.

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