THE efficacy of new UK Government curfew rules has been called into question after pubgoers flooded onto the streets of central London on the night the restrictions came into force.

All pubs, bars and restaurants in England had to shut by 10pm last night under guidance announced earlier this week to curb an increase in coronavirus cases.

Similar rules are being implemented in Scotland as of tonight. Scots students have also been told not to visit pubs or restaurants this weekend after hundreds of people in halls at several universities were told to self-isolate. 

READ MORE: Pubs ban is not to stigmatise or blame Scotland's students, minister says

But footage posted on social media showed scores of revellers gathering in central London last night as venues all closed at the same time.

House of Commons employee Kirsty Lewis shared a video of large crowds gathering around Oxford Street at 10:34pm.

She described it as the "busiest I've seen central London in months".

She told the Express: “Everyone poured onto the streets. I guess most people were probably socially distanced from other groups, just by the nature of normal distances you tend to keep. But I can imagine it was an issue as they all tried to crowd onto tubes.

“Also, I know that a lot of people were discussing going back to their houses or flats for more drinks instead, where they would have just usually stayed out in the bars or restaurants later.

“Can easily imagine how that led to extra spread.”

This morning, London was added to the UK Government's coronavirus "watchlist" as an area of greatest concern.

Commenters on Lewis's video questioned the wisdom of the new curfew rules.

One said the restrictions had “definitely turned 10pm into a rush hour rather than the usual evening trickle”.

Another added: “Closing times of pubs were extended to avoid the issues of a town centre full of drunks on the streets all at exactly the same time. The Government are morons.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus Scotland: All the new coronavirus lockdown restrictions in force from today

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told BBC Breakfast that the new UK Government rules are a “recalibration which we hope and believe will be enough to check the spread”.

A small police presence was seen on the pedestrianised streets in London but no problems were reported.

The Metropolitan Police said Commissioner Cressida Dick was out on patrol in Shoreditch, a popular nighttime area, with local officers "who were engaging with members of the public, to remind them of their responsibility to keep themselves and others safe to minimise the spread".

The force said it would be stepping up its enforcement of Covid regulations in response to the changes and rising rates of infection in the capital.