British minister Priti Patel said on Tuesday she would call the police to report anyone who flouted a new ban on gatherings of more than six people, suggesting that people who stopped for a chat on the street were breaking new coronavirus laws.
COVID-19 cases across the UK have risen sharply in recent weeks, prompting the government to bring in the new rules to restrict socialising, at the same time as health bosses have said there are problems with accessing tests.
Patel said that people needed to help stop the spread of the disease, and that included calling the police on neighbours. She even suggested that families should not mingle with friends they bumped into on the street.
“If I saw something that I thought was inappropriate, then quite frankly I would effectively call the police,” she told Sky News.
“It’s not about dobbing in neighbours, I think it’s all about us taking personal responsibility. If there was a big party taking place, it would be right to call the police.”