PEOPLE “should not need to be told by the police what they have to do,” and the “advice is absolutely clear”, says Gwent's Police and Crime Commissioner as forces prepare for new powers to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

Prime Minister announced on Monday that police will get powers to enforce social distancing and impose a fine of £30 on those who do not comply.

And speaking on social media, Gwent PCC Jeff Cuthbert said: “The people of Gwent should not need to be told by the police what they have to do.

“The advice is absolutely clear, if we allow this situation to overwhelm the NHS it will lead to tragic and unnecessary deaths.

“We will only have ourselves to blame if that happens.”

The video on social media follows comments made on the Gwent PCC website where Mr Cuthbert praised the response from public services.

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He said: “I can’t remember a situation that comes close to the need for caution, tolerance and awareness that we face now.

“The police will monitor the situation closely and take steps to deal with those reckless individuals who do not heed the strong advice and emergency laws. We do not want this enforcement to become necessary, but I am speaking with the Chief Constable, Pam Kelly, about how these measures will be enforced should people choose to ignore the absolutely clear advice from government.

“We should expect everybody to obey the law, meaning that enforcement is not needed. Only through mass cultural change can we flatten the curve of this virus’ spread and we all have a role to play in this.

"This includes listening to and taking action on official advice and guidance from the government and local public sector bodies such as Gwent Police, Public Health Wales and the five Gwent councils.

“I would like to reaffirm my ongoing thanks to all police officers, staff, healthcare workers, local authorities and other partners who are working around the clock to help tackle this.

“We know these are difficult times and I would like to reassure all residents that we are working to do everything we can to help slow the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable in society.”

There are currently 309 cases of coronavirus in the Gwent area, and 628 across Wales.