Coronavirus: UK residents face tougher COVID-19 rule enforcement as cases rise

Hospitals in the United Kingdom are already at capacity managing COVID-19 patients, but health officials are warning the worst is yet to come.

Tougher rules and enforcement is on the horizon as tens of thousands of people test positive for coronavirus each day and the daily death toll averages nearly 1000.

COVID-19 raid officers are now responding to reports of socialising and finding evidence of boozy nights with people from different households. 

"Inside the building was a table with eight seats, alcohol and food, people pretending to be asleep, one on the roof. £200 fines for each," a police officer said.

Police have been lenient over the past year but are now starting to enforce lockdown laws, meaning there'll be more raids to improve the health system from its current state: overwhelmed, ambulances stretched, wards full, and some hospitals even running low on oxygen.

"At the moment we are at risk of being overrun by patients and we may not be able to give the care that we're supposed to," a health expert said.

Despite being told to stay home, parks and streets are still full of people - reigniting the debate of what's classified as exercise or an essential outing.

"It is okay to go for a long walk or cycle or exercise, but stay local, please go out and exercise because it's good for your health and mental health. But don't use it as an excuse to socialise," Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock told residents.

Boris Johnson said it's a "perilous moment and we will tighten restrictions if we need to".

But the Prime Minister's message got lost in his apparent hypocrisy when he was spotted cycling around London's Olympic Park over the weekend, which is 12 kilometres from his home at Downing Street.

However, in good news, seven new mass vaccination centres have now been opened and scores of the UK's most vulnerable are queuing up for the jab.

A total of 2.6 million people have received a vaccine so far and the government's goal is for 2 million vaccinations per week.

"Yes, we are on track to meet that target," Hancock said. "It's a high yet achievable target."

If they achieve that, then restrictions will begin to ease in mid-February when the most vulnerable are protected.