“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.”
The clampdown comes amid concern over testing shortages, especially in areas suffering the highest Covid-19 infection rates.
But Ms Patel insisted that tests were available for people in their local areas, and that Public Health England was adding capacity on a daily basis.
“The majority of tests are available within a 10-mile (16-km) radius,” she told BBC Breakfast.
“It seems to me there’ll be extreme cases where people can’t get to test locations within that radius but that doesn’t mean that Public Health England are not working night and day to boost capacity,” she added.
“Tests are available, particularly in local lockdown areas, I’ve seen this myself, I’ve seen the teams that have been working on this.”
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