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Coronavirus: People seen flouting lockdown by sunbathing and going for picnics, prompting police warning

The Independent logo The Independent 04/04/2020 Conrad Duncan
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Police forces have urged the public to stay at home and follow the government’s coronavirus lockdown after people were pictured sunbathing and enjoying picnics outside on Saturday.

The British public have been given strict instructions to not leave their homes this weekend, despite warm weather across the country, to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Under lockdown measures imposed by prime minister Boris Johnson in March, people are only supposed to go outside for essential trips, such as buying food or medicine, as well as one form of exercise a day.

Cyclists and walkers in Bushy Park in London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. © Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images Cyclists and walkers in Bushy Park in London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

However, images posted on Twitter showed crowds of people in London Fields and Battersea Park in the capital, with some seen sunbathing and others on hire bikes.

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In the North East, surfers were pictured on the beach at Tynemouth, while in Brighton, the local council warned that people were making “social distancing impossible” by visiting the beach.

“Too many people are on the seafront making social distancing impossible,” Brighton and Hove Council tweeted on Saturday.

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Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police warned Londoners to stay at home despite the “glorious” weather outside.

“These guidelines are not optional, despite the temptation of the sun,” the police force said.

“They are in place to protect, prevent [cases] and ultimately save lives.”

“The sun might be out, but that does not mean you should be out,” Stephen Powis, NHS England medical director, added.

“It's the lives and the health of all of us, our friends, our relatives, your friends, your relatives, that depend upon us following these instructions.”

Cyclists in Bushy Park in London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. © Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images Cyclists in Bushy Park in London as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Earlier on Saturday, second homeowners were told to keep away from their holiday properties as police forces warned they would issue fines to anyone making nonessential journeys this weekend.

Gloucestershire Police said officers would stop people who looked like they might be heading away for a few days.

Additional reporting by PA

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Stay at home to stop coronavirus spreading - here is what you can and can't do. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland, anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.  

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