A POLICE chief has revealed that officers issued 107 fines for rule breaches during the first week of the latest lockdown – as he warned they would no longer “waste time reasoning with people”.
Supt Mike Walker, of North Yorkshire Police, said the figure compared with 46 penalty charge notices issued by the force in the first week of the spring lockdown, and he stressed that officers had now moved to enforcement of the rules.
He told a ‘resilience forum’ press briefing yesterday that 22 had been issued in York, three in Selby and 19 in Scarborough, where police had attended seven house parties over the weekend.
Fifty were issued to visitors to North Yorkshire, 33 of whom were from West Yorkshire, with some people driving 40 or 50 miles to take exercise or see the snow.
He said the large majority of people were taking responsibility for their actions and staying at home and adhering to the rules, but a minority thought they were entitled to gather, for example for a birthday party.
The briefing was told that the latest figures for hospital admission of Covid patients were ‘stark’, with 387 across the region, 116 more than a week ago, of whom 121 were being treated at York Hospital and 46 at Harrogate.
But there was good news on the vaccination front, with officials saying ‘good progress’ was being made and regular supplies of both the Oxford/Astra Zeneca and the Pfizer/Biontech vaccines were now being received.
There were 12 vaccination sites across North Yorkshire, with two in York, and three hospital vaccination hubs in York, Harrogate and Scarborough.
The briefing was told that there was more of the new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus across much of North Yorkshire and York than in other areas such as West and South Yorkshire, and this might partially explain why rates were higher here.
A former nurse, April Martin, told the briefing how she had fallen very ill with the virus despite having previously been very fit, and had gone into intensive care at Harrogate Hospital and thought she might not survive.
She said that six months later, she had long Covid and still got very tired and easily breathless.
Meanwhile, the Government has announced that jabs are to be delivered at high street pharmacies, including Boots and Superdrug.
Two hundred community pharmacies are due to come online over the next fortnight as more vaccine supplies come on stream by the end of the month.