Covidiots call police asking ‘can I wash my horse?’ as Briton’s defy government’s warnings


Britons across the nation are continuing to flout social distancing guidelines as the country tries to control the surge in coronavirus cases which has now hit 47,806.

With temperatures set to soar to 20C in parts of the UK today, police fear that thousands more will flock to the country’s sun-soaked parks and beaches and ignore the Government’s social distancing advice.

The continuing defiance among some Britons comes in the same week Gwent Police in Wales revealed that they had been inundated with non-emergency calls from people which was ‘delaying the ability of the force to attend genuine emergencies’.

Taking to Facebook the police force said: ‘#Thinkbeforeyoudial – only dial 999 in an emergency. During the current health crisis Gwent Police, like many emergency services, has seen a change in demand for our services. At this time we are urging people to think before they dial. Are the police the right people to contact?

‘Many people are dialling 999 to report issues that don’t warrant an emergency or even a police response and we need to ensure we continue to respond to members of our community that need us urgently.

As the temperature continues to rise, Britons are continuing to flout social distancing guidelines advised by the Government. Pictured: People in Walpole Park in Ealing, London

As the temperature continues to rise, Britons are continuing to flout social distancing guidelines advised by the Government. Pictured: People in Walpole Park in Ealing, London

People enjoy the warm weather  by a lake in Regents Park in London as the nation braces itself for warmer weather this weekend

People enjoy the warm weather  by a lake in Regents Park in London as the nation braces itself for warmer weather this weekend

With temperatures set to soar to 20C in parts of the UK today, police fear that thousands are set to flock to the country's sizzling parks and beaches. Pictured: Police Community Support Officers patrolling Brighton beach

With temperatures set to soar to 20C in parts of the UK today, police fear that thousands are set to flock to the country’s sizzling parks and beaches. Pictured: Police Community Support Officers patrolling Brighton beach

‘When to dial 999: There is danger to life or property. Reporting a crime that is in progress. A suspect is nearby. Use 101 if you need advice on a policing matter. 

‘Some of the recent calls to both our 999 and 101 service have included: Can I go shopping? Can I go and feed a stray cat? Can I still move house?’ Can I go out in my car at night? Can I wash my horse?’ Can I go out in my garden?’ Can I go and buy ink cartridges to print my daughter’s school work?

‘These distractions are delaying the ability of the Force to attend genuine emergencies and those who need our help.’

In response to the emergency calls Chief Constable Pam Kelly said: ‘Many members of our communities are calling us at the moment because they don’t know where else to turn. 

‘This is an unprecedented situation, but to ensure that we continue to deliver an efficient and effective service across Gwent we are asking for your help. Now more than ever, please think before you dial; is this actually a policing matter? Is there another agency I should be contacting, can I get the information I need online?

‘Whilst this message is so important, please be reassured that we are here for you at this difficult and unsettling time. I particularly want to encourage anyone feeling vulnerable whilst at home, or anyone suffering from domestic abuse to contact us; don’t suffer in silence. We will continue to work hard alongside our partners to serve and protect the communities of Gwent.’ 

Today Health Secretary Matt Hancock took fire at sunbathers for flouting coronavirus lockdown rules and said it was  ‘quite unbelievable’ a ‘small minority’ of people were refusing to stay at home.   

Mr Hancock told Sky News: ‘This point about holding our resolve is so important. The vast majority of people are following the public health advice which is absolutely critical and staying at home. 

‘But there are a small minority of people who are still not doing that. It is quite unbelievable frankly to see that there are some people who are not following the advice.’ 

Gwent Police in Wales shared some of the calls they had received

This week Gwent Police in Wales urged people to only call for emergencies

This week Gwent Police in Wales took to social media to reveal the non-emergency calls they had received amid the coronavirus outbreak

Today Health Secretary Matt Hancock criticised those who were flouting the coronavirus lockdown by refusing to stay at home

Today Health Secretary Matt Hancock criticised those who were flouting the coronavirus lockdown by refusing to stay at home

Crowds gathered at Greenwich Park in London today as the country tries to control the spread of the coronavirus outbreak

Crowds gathered at Greenwich Park in London today as the country tries to control the spread of the coronavirus outbreak

Today members of the public were seen wearing medical masks as they strolled through a sunny Greenwich Park in London

Today members of the public were seen wearing medical masks as they strolled through a sunny Greenwich Park in London

A police officer speaks to a cyclist in Battersea Park, London, today, as people continue to flock to the nation's parks

A police officer speaks to a cyclist in Battersea Park, London, today, as people continue to flock to the nation’s parks 

Mr Hancock said staying at home is ‘the best way to control the spread of this virus and the fastest way to get us out of this’ as he said the guidance is ‘absolutely clear’ that people should not be out sunbathing in public. 

He added: ‘Of course I understand how difficult this is but the problem is that when you go out it is not only that you might directly interact with somebody closer than two metres, it is also that you can spread the virus through touching something which somebody else then touches. You could pick it up that way. 

‘We are crystal clear in the guidance on what people should and shouldn’t do. That guidance is backed up in law. It is not a request, it is a requirement in law and people need to follow it.’       

Yesterday, thousands were seen descending upon a beach in Hove and London’s Regent’s Park to enjoy the sunny weather despite the social distancing guidelines in place. 

South London’s Brockwell park was shut indefinitely after 3,000 people visited ‘despite clear advice’ as green spaces and beaches filled up across the UK in defiance of Boris Johnson’s plea for Brits to stay indoors.

Lambeth Council tweeted: ‘Despite clear advice, over 3,000 people spent today in Brockwell Park, many of them sunbathing or in large groups. This is unacceptable. 

‘Unfortunately, the actions of a minority now means that, following police advice, Brockwell Park will be closed tomorrow. #StayHome.

‘We are sorry we’ve had to take this decision. This wouldn’t need to happen if people followed the clear instructions from the Govt. We are doing this for the wider safety of the public. 

‘A minority of people have not followed the guidance – regrettably we have to act.’ 

Speaking to the press yesterday Michael Gove urged the country to stay indoors despite the sunshine and pleaded with people to continue adhering to the lockdown rules.

He said: ‘Some will be tempted to go out and about, but if we relax the rules we increase the risk for others. It is vital all of us weigh up an hour in the sun with the lives of those we love and those on the NHS front line.’                  

Today Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked those who were 'saving lives by staying at home' and reminded everyone that it was important 'we all work together'

Today Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked those who were ‘saving lives by staying at home’ and reminded everyone that it was important ‘we all work together’

As temperatures continue to rise in the UK, shoppers were seen leaving the DIY store The Range in Gosport, Hampshire, today

As temperatures continue to rise in the UK, shoppers were seen leaving the DIY store The Range in Gosport, Hampshire, today

One customer left the store in Hampshire with a Bluetooth Jukebox Station

Another customer was seen exiting the store with blinds

One customer was seen leaving the store with a Bluetooth Jukebox Station (left) while another was seen carrying blinds (right)

Speaking about social distancing, he said: ‘More than ever, we must stick with it.

‘I know that life under lockdown can be challenging, and some will be tempted on this sunny weekend to venture out and about.

‘If we relax our adherence to the rules, we increase the risk for others.’

He urged people ‘to think of those on the front line and the sacrifices they’re making for us’.

When asked about people being tempted to break the social distancing rules during the sunny weather this weekend, Mr Gove said: ‘When we look at the death rate, the number of increasing fatalities, when we consider the pressure on our NHS, everyone has to ask themselves the question: ‘What am I doing to relieve pressure on the NHS, how am I helping in this shared national effort?’.   

‘I know that lockdown is challenging, I know it’s very difficult, particularly for families with children. 

‘But people must at every stage respect these guidelines because that is the only way of making sure we restrict the spread of the disease.’         

 

Yesterday Lambeth Council said they had closed Brockwell Park after 3,000 people were seen flocking to the London park

Yesterday Lambeth Council said they had closed Brockwell Park after 3,000 people were seen flocking to the London park 

Pictured: Police officers speak to people enjoying the sunshine in London fields as the nation sees temperatures soar

Pictured: Police officers speak to people enjoying the sunshine in London fields as the nation sees temperatures soar

Despite some choosing to ignore Government advice, today the Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked the many who continued to stay indoors and ‘follow the guidance’.

Police pour water over couple’s barbecue

Police in Sussex were forced to pour a helmet full of water over a couple’s barbecue after they refused to follow the Government’s lockdown rules

The pair started a barbecue on Hove beach today

Police confirmed a 31-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman, both from Hove, are set to be summoned to court for breaching Schedule 21 of the Coronavirus Act 2020

On social media Sussex Police said they were disappointed that the couple showed ‘disregard for public safety’

A message on the Sussex Police Facebook page read: ‘We can only express disappointment in the two people who showed disregard for public safety and started a BBQ on Hove beach today. 

‘The severity of this public health emergency means they will be summonsed to court for breaching the Coronavirus Act 2020.

‘Sunday is set to be another pleasant day and we again appeal to everyone to continue show their support for our NHS and stay at home.’  

Mr Johnson tweeted: ‘Thank you to everyone who is saving lives by staying at home this weekend. I know it’s tough, but if we all work together and follow the guidance we will beat #coronavirus.’

The scenes comes after the nation suffered the worst day yet in the coronavirus crisis as 708 people died with a five-year-old child, who had underlying health issues, being the youngest victim.

Since the start of the outbreak there have been 41,903 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK with a total death toll of 4,313. 

But the decision to shut outside spaces has been met with some criticism from campaigners who say that the measures are forcing people to cram into smaller spaces during the coronavirus lockdown. 

Police across the capital have been left furious after scores of people ignored the Prime Minister’s plea to stay at home to save the NHS by congregating in large groups as well as enjoying the weekend’s good weather. 

Camden Town & Primrose Hill Police took to Twitter yesterday to share their disappointment at the widespread flouting of lockdown rules.  

Officers said that they had moved hundreds of people on from Primrose Hill only for many of them to return a short time later.

They wrote: ‘#Disappointed is the only word to describe what we found in #PrimroseHill park today.

‘We moved on 100+ people who we found with full picnics or blankets sunbathing or catching up with their friends!

‘Check out a photo we took when we then returned a short while later…’   

Newham Police also posted a picture on social media after raiding an 18th birthday party where 25 guests were present.

They wrote: ‘After a day of stop and search and foot chases, Newham’s NTT have been called to clear a house party in Central Park Road. 

Yesterday Camden Town and Primrose Hill Police tweeted a picture of people gathered  in the park amid the coronavirus outbreak

 Yesterday Camden Town and Primrose Hill Police tweeted a picture of people gathered  in the park amid the coronavirus outbreak

‘This family thought law relating to social distancing shouldn’t apply to 18th birthday parties. 25 guests moved on.’ 

And Sussex Police issued a similar warning and said: ‘Thank you to everyone that stayed away from beauty spots and beaches today. We know it isn’t easy. 

‘We are disappointed that two people will be summonsed to attend court after breaching the Coronavirus Act 2020 by having a BBQ on Hove Beach.’  

With temperatures heading for the mid to high 60s, health chiefs were afraid people would ignore the government’s coronavirus lockdown rules over the weekend, jeopardising the strategy of limiting the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus. 

Officials warn the lockdown may have to be extended if people continue to ignore the advice to stay at home and only go out for essential reasons.

During his press conference yesterday Mr Gove said police have the power to legally enforce the rules, and continued: ‘But it’s vital that all of us recognise if we weigh up an hour or two outside, and weigh it against the lives of those we love and the lives of those on the NHS front line, it should be clear I hope to all that we should follow the advice.’ 

Mr Gove said there is ‘evidence to suggest’ compliance with the new social distancing rules varies across different demographics of the population.   

Mr Gove said 708 people died from coronavirus in Britain in the last 24 hours bringing the country's total fatalities to 4,313

Mr Gove said 708 people died from coronavirus in Britain in the last 24 hours bringing the country’s total fatalities to 4,313

Michael Gove revealed at today's No10 press briefing that Britain has taken delivery of 300 ventilators from China, while more will start being produced soon by a consortium of aerospace, engineering and Formula One teams

Michael Gove revealed at today’s No10 press briefing that Britain has taken delivery of 300 ventilators from China, while more will start being produced soon by a consortium of aerospace, engineering and Formula One teams 

The NHS said hospitalisations for the coronavirus rose by 47 percent in the Midlands and 35 percent in the North today

The NHS said hospitalisations for the coronavirus rose by 47 percent in the Midlands and 35 percent in the North today 

Death rate of coronavirus patients in intensive care tops 50 percent 

Death rate of Covid-19 patients in intensive care exceeds 50 percent, the latest statistics indicate

Death rate of Covid-19 patients in intensive care exceeds 50 percent, the latest statistics indicate

The death rate of coronavirus patients admitted to intensive care has topped 50 percent, figures show.

A study found that more than half of the sample of intensive care patients died due to the killer bug while the other 50 percent were discharged. 

22.4 percent of patients admitted to intensive care with pneumonia between 2017 and 2019 died of the disease.

The shocking statistics come as the UK’s coronavirus death toll soars to 4,313 with more than 41,900 cases. 

The Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC) found that of 690 coronavirus patients in intensive care with known outcomes, 346 died.

Of the 346 deaths, 259 were male. A sample of 2,249 coronavirus patients was used by the ICNARC. The remaining 1,559 patients are still in critical care. 

He added: ‘There has been evidence that for some young people, there has been a lower level of compliance.

‘That is why it is important that we reach them appropriately – it may be that some of the messages and some of the channels we have used have not reached some segments of the population.

‘It may be that young people feel that they are less likely to be affected and less likely to be infected.

‘One of the reasons we are trying to make sure our message is consistent is that for some, you may hear this message again and again and again and think the Government sounds like a broken record.

‘But there will be many who won’t have access to or don’t have access to traditional media and we need to make sure we get the message through to them.

‘The evidence is that people appreciate the ethical reasons why self-restraint can help others at a time like this, and it is because people are building up that broad social understanding.’

He said he is confident the public will have the ‘self-discipline’ to maintain social distancing for as long as the shutdown is required. 

Professor Steve Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said health said would ‘plea to every member of the public to follow the instructions that they have been provided with’.

He 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.

‘This is the time we need to make sure we stick to that guidance and don’t deviate from it.

Prof Powis said: ‘We need to reduce social contact, stop transmission and reduce the spread of the virus.

People enjoy the sunshine on the seafront at Brighton, West Sussex, despite Boris Johnson's pleas for them to stay at home

People enjoy the sunshine on the seafront at Brighton, West Sussex, despite Boris Johnson’s pleas for them to stay at home

‘By doing that, we will start to protect the NHS and save lives.’

He said death tolls will continue to rise, but that if people continue to stay indoors, there will be a reduction in the number of deaths. 

In London’s Regent Park, dozens of ‘Middle-Aged Men in Lycra’ (MAMILs) ignored the Government’s Covid-19 lockdown rules to congregate in Regent’s Park in London to ride their bicycles in large groups. 

Groups of men, clad in lycra, riding in close formation. Across in Paddington, keep fit fans were photographed training in a recreation ground – again ignoring social distancing rules.  

In Cambridge, groups of people lazed on the banks of the River Cam enjoying the sunshine. 

Groups of people were also spotted in Brighton, jeopardising the government’s Covid-19 strategy.   

Police chiefs have warned that people breaching the coronavirus lockdown rules face being fined.

Forces plan to step up patrols in beauty spots and major routes to the coast, as officers warn ‘lockdown in Easter shouldn’t be much different from lockdown’ on any other day.

This comes as: 

  • Boris Johnson appealed to rival political parties to work together in a moment of national emergency;
  • His pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds, 31, revealed that she had spent a week in bed with coronavirus, telling scores of Twitter followers ‘being pregnant with Covid-19 is obviously worrying’; 
  • Sir Keir Starmer was elected as Labour leader and accepted the Prime Minister’s invitation to a Number 10 coronavirus briefing, and vowed to engage constructively with the government; 
  • The death rate of coronavirus patients admitted to intensive care has topped 50 percent, latest figures show, while Watford General Hospital told people not to go to its A&E even for emergencies during crisis; 
  • Prof Neil Ferguson, the Government’s top scientific expert, said the UK could ease some lockdown restrictions at the end of May and move to a strategy of testing and contact tracing;
  • His colleague Prof Graham Medley said the lockdown has pinned Britain ‘into a corner’ with no exit strategy;
  • Michael Gove dismissed claims that 5G telecommunication masts were spreading the disease as ‘dangerous nonsense’ while NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis called the allegations ‘fake news’; 
  • The massive Nightingale Hospital in the ExCeL centre in London, one of several field hospitals to be built, opened for its first full day of operation after it was unveiled by Prince Charles via videolink yesterday;
  • Boxer Anthony Yarde’s grandmother died of coronavirus just days after the disease killed his dad;
  • A member of the armed forces became the first case of coronavirus on the Falkland Islands. A spokesperson said: ‘An inpatient in the hospital who is in isolation has tested positive for the Covid-19 virus’.

Boris Johnson’s pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds reveals she has been in bed for seven days with Covid-19 symptoms 

Carrie Symonds has coronavirus after fiancee Boris Johnson went into isolation with the deadly pathogen.

Ms Symonds posted on Twitter earlier today: ‘I’ve spent the past week in bed with the main symptoms of Coronavirus. I haven’t needed to be tested and, after seven days of rest, I feel stronger and I’m on the mend.

‘Being pregnant with Covid-19 is obviously worrying.’ 

Pregnant women were placed in a vulnerable group by the Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty on March 16.

It comes after fiancee Boris Johnson was forced into isolation last Friday with coronavirus symptoms.

The Prime Minister was due to exit quarantine yesterday, seven days after testing positive, but in a recent video message he confirmed that he continues to have a high temperature and will therefore remain in isolation.

‘Although I’m feeling better, and I’ve done my seven days of isolation, alas I still have one of the symptoms, a minor symptom – I still have a temperature,’ he said.

‘So in accordance with Government advice I must continue my self-isolation until that symptom goes.’

But furious campaigners have criticised police and council chiefs for shutting down large parks, forcing people to cram into smaller spaces during the coronavirus lockdown.

The ‘draconian’ decision to padlock Victoria Park in East London, closing down 213 acres of open space, led to hundreds of joggers and dog walkers taking to a nearby canal towpath yesterday in clear contravention of the Government’s social-distancing rules. 

Officials also closed all green spaces in Middlesbrough, stopped cars from parking at parks in Watford, and banned people from Bristol’s parks.  

Local officials faced a backlash last night for locking up some of Britain’s glorious green spaces. 

Chris Worman, a Government adviser in the Parks Action Group, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Closing parks is the wrong thing to do. The problem with closing parks, for example Victoria Park, is you actually disperse the people and move the problem elsewhere. 

‘People do their exercise in other parks that can’t cope with the high levels of people. These are draconian measures but they were put in place because people weren’t obeying the rules.’ 

Mark Hardy, from the Association of Play Industries, said: ‘I don’t think the parks should be closed. 

‘It just seems a bit drastic, but I do think that the closure of the children’s play areas is a wise thing to do.’ 

Conservative MP Tom Hunt added: ‘It’s a step too far. I don’t want to see parks being closed. 

‘Many people don’t have any outdoor space, and so I’m concerned about those people who need to get some fresh air. It’s an issue of mental wellbeing.’ 

The closure of Victoria Park for the first time since it opened in 1845 has incensed locals. 

Richard Bingley, a local university lecturer, said: ‘Tower Hamlets local police command and council seem to be massively overreaching their legal powers and flouting this guidance by taking draconian action. 

‘We’re forced to walk dogs and jog within a more compressed space now. If this continues it is likely to increase our infection rate.’ 

A spokesman for Tower Hamlets Council said the park had been closed due to the failure of people to observe social distancing. 

Middlesbrough Council said its spaces had been closed because of ‘bad behaviour’ by the public. 

Meanwhile, people living near Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, complained they had been threatened with £1,000 fines by soldiers patrol ling the beauty spot, which borders a major Army training base. 

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said it was enforcing the Government’s lockdown measures.   

Prof Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London continued warned the predicted plateau of the virus within the next week to ten days will not happen if people continue to flout the rules. 

He said the infection rate will remain high for ‘weeks and weeks’ if the general public ignore the restrictions. 

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer, from Devon and Cornwall Police, has encouraged people to stay home during the good weather this weekend.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘This is a national endeavour, everyone plays their part, it’s the time to put others before self and we’re seeing so many people across local government doing their part, the NHS of course.

‘But it’s actually the public, the millions of people, to put others before self to be selfless, not selfish.’

Chief Constable Sawyer said his officers would in the first instance ‘explain’ and ‘encourage’ people to abide by the Government guidelines on essential travel.

He explained: ‘When we come to enforcement, that really is a last resort because, in a way, if we come to enforcement then everybody has failed to understand the significance of this endeavour.

‘It’s not just visitors, even within my 4,000 square miles I’ve got my own population that really just want to jump in the car and travel.

‘They want to go to the moors they want to go to the beaches.’

He described this weekend as ‘a time to remember the importance of stay at home and save lives’.

Chief Constable Sawyer added: ‘Where we are seeing gatherings on the beach we will first enquire because that gathering might be a family.

‘We mustn’t assume and jump to policing by judgment, we have to have a conversation.

‘We’ll encourage people to go home, to separate, to isolate. But, equally, if groups really will not listen, then enforcement is a last resort.’

First coronavirus case on the Falkland Islands 

Stanley, in the Falkland Islands. A member of the Armed Forces on the Falklands has tested positive for the coronavirus

Stanley, in the Falkland Islands. A member of the Armed Forces on the Falklands has tested positive for the coronavirus

A member of the Armed Forces has become the first confirmed coronavirus case on the Falkland Islands.

Brigadier Nick Sawyer, Commander of British Forces South Atlantic Islands (BFSAI), said the patient is in a stable condition in the remote archipelago’s hospital.

They became unwell at Mount Pleasant Complex, a Royal Air Force base on the British territory.

Brigadier Sawyer said: ‘The individual followed all the correct processes and self-isolated when they started to show symptoms. 

‘They were closely monitored and after a deterioration in their condition the individual was transferred to KMH (King Edward VII Memorial Hospital).

‘Mount Pleasant Complex and Ascension Island continue to implement the same strict isolation and social distancing measures as the UK and these are also aligned with the Falkland Islands Government direction.

‘This is a timely reminder that we must all continue to be self-disciplined with our personal health procedures and observe social distancing.’

The Falkland Islands Government said in a statement that the patient is not on a ventilator.

Six British Army medics have been deployed to the Islands this week to give support during the pandemic. 

Chief Constable Sawyer said Devon and Cornwall’s 700 miles of coastline is ‘unpoliceable other than by the public themselves’.

He added: ‘Of course, we’ll focus on core areas, we’re certainly looking at the arterial roads into the South West – the M4, M5, A303 and then, within the peninsular, the A30.

‘But that is a very small workforce.

‘Devon and Cornwall police requires the public both within and outside our geography to play their part.

‘When they do gather… we will talk, we’ll converse, and, if needs be, as a last resort we’ll enforce.’ 

On Friday, England’s chief nursing officer, Ruth May, urged people to think of two nurses who died after contracting coronavirus and ‘stay home for them’.

Areema Nasreen and Aimee O’Rourke, both mothers of three children, died alongside two healthcare assistants, it was announced on Friday.

Ms May, speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference, said: ‘This weekend is going to be very warm and it will be very tempting to go out and enjoy those summer rays.

‘But please, I ask you to remember Aimee and Areema. Please stay at home for them.’

She added: ‘I worry that there’s going to be more and I want to honour them today and recognise their service.’

Meanwhile, in his letter to opposition leaders, released just before the announcement about the Labour leadership election result, the PM said: ‘As party leaders, we have a duty to work together at this moment of national emergency.

‘Therefore, I would like to invite all leaders of opposition parties in Parliament to a briefing with myself, the chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser next week.

‘I want to listen to your views and update you on the measures we have taken so far, such as rapidly expanding testing and providing economic support to businesses and individuals across the country.’

Tourism bosses have warned the warm weather this weekend may tempt families into flouting the rules. Petrol prices have also plummeted in recent weeks to as little as 99p a litre in some places.

Highways England said people appeared to be heeding instructions and staying clear of the road network. 

A spokesman said: ‘As people follow government advice to stay at home if possible, traffic volumes and incidents appear to be reducing. Maintaining a safe road network is our priority and that’s what our on-road teams, control room staff, and the people who support them, are all working hard to do.’ 

Gloucestershire Police said officers would be stopping motorists who appear to be heading on holiday, such as those towing caravans.

The force said there had been particular concern in some rural areas that second home owners will be visiting over the Easter holiday. Yesterday, Boris Johnson said he understood ‘everybody may be getting a bit stir crazy’. 

The National Police Chiefs Council has released it's guidance for officers enforcing the social distancing lockdown rules

The National Police Chiefs Council has released it’s guidance for officers enforcing the social distancing lockdown rules 

But the Prime Minister pleaded with Britons to ‘stick with the guidance’ to avoid an NHS meltdown. 

He said: ‘I reckon a lot of people will be starting to think that this is all going on for quite a long time and would rather be getting out there, particularly if you’ve got kids in the household, everybody may be getting a bit stir crazy, and there may be just a temptation to get out there, hang out and start to break the regulations.

‘I just urge you not to do that. Please, please stick with the guidance now.’ 

Public spaces, including ‘major parks’, could be closed if people keep flouting the rules, according to a Government source quoted by the Daily Telegraph. The Met Office has forecast sunny spells today and tomorrow, with temperatures set to reach 20C (68F) in some parts of the country.

Over in north west London, large groups of NHS workers queued outside the IKEA store in Brent Park, Neasden waiting for coronavirus testing

Over in north west London, large groups of NHS workers queued outside the IKEA store in Brent Park, Neasden waiting for coronavirus testing 

The staff, who need a prior appointment, dive up to the tester who swabs their nose and the back of their throat

The staff, who need a prior appointment, dive up to the tester who swabs their nose and the back of their throat 

Yesterday a number of police forces announced extra high-visibility patrols. Humberside Chief Constable Lee Freeman said: ‘I ask that people do not allow themselves to be tempted to become complacent.’

Under the public health regulations, anyone caught outside without a good reason faces a £60 fine or possible arrest.

In France, tens of thousands of extra police have been deployed and road blocks set up for Easter. Health Secretary Matt Hancock declined to rule out following the French example of having police at stations checking people’s movements.

The Welsh government will introduce a law forcing all employers to make sure their workers keep 6ft apart, the first of its kind in the UK.

In Bedfordshire, local police posted this photograph today of Bedford Embankment which was completely deserted

In Bedfordshire, local police posted this photograph today of Bedford Embankment which was completely deserted 

Cumbria Police have posted photographs of an empty Windermere as people in the Lake District heed the lockdown call

Cumbria Police have posted photographs of an empty Windermere as people in the Lake District heed the lockdown call

Coronavirus infection rate will remain high for ‘weeks and weeks’ if the public ignores lockdown rules  

Prof Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London has warned the virus plateau may be delayed if people continue to ignore the Covid-19 restrictions

Prof Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London has warned the virus plateau may be delayed if people continue to ignore the Covid-19 restrictions 

The coronavirus infection rate will remain high for ‘weeks and weeks’ if people flout the social distancing rules this weekend, a top scientist advising the Government has warned.

Professor Neil Ferguson, from Imperial College London, said that while the epidemic was expected to plateau in the next week to 10 days, people’s behaviour was critical to determining what happens next.

His warning followed similar pleas by Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock for people to stick with the social distancing measures and resist the temptation to enjoy the sunshine forecast for swathes of the UK on Saturday and Sunday. 

Asked what would happen if people flout the social distancing rules this weekend, Prof Ferguson told BBC Radio 4: ‘That moves us to a slightly more pessimistic scenario.

‘We still think things will plateau but we’ll be at quite high levels of infection for weeks and weeks rather than seeing quite a rapid decline as the type seen in China.’

He said he was ‘hopeful’ that some of the intense social distancing measures could be substituted with rapid access to testing and contact tracing in a few weeks’ time – once case numbers are lower.

‘We want to move to a situation where at least by the end of May that we’re able to substitute some less intensive measures, more based on technology and testing, for the complete lockdown we have now,’ he explained.

It comes after a pandemic modeller advising the Government warned that the lockdown measures are merely a ‘placeholder’ and that Britain had ‘painted itself into a corner’ with no clear exit strategy from the Covid-19 crisis.

Professor Graham Medley told The Times: ‘This disease is so nasty that we had to suppress it completely. Then we’ve kind of painted ourselves into a corner, because then the question will be, what do we do now?

‘We will have done three weeks of this lockdown, so there’s a big decision coming up on April 13. In broad terms are we going to continue to harm children to protect vulnerable people, or not?’

Prof Medley added: ‘If we carry on with lockdown, it buys us more time, we can get more thought put into it, but it doesn’t resolve anything, it’s a placeholder.’

On Friday, England’s chief nursing officer, Ruth May, urged people to think of two nurses who died after contracting coronavirus and ‘stay home for them’.

Areema Nasreen and Aimee O’Rourke, both mothers of three children, died alongside two healthcare assistants, it was announced on Friday.

Ms May, speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference, said: ‘This weekend is going to be very warm and it will be very tempting to go out and enjoy those summer rays.

‘But please, I ask you to remember Aimee and Areema. Please stay at home for them.’

She added: ‘I worry that there’s going to be more and I want to honour them today and recognise their service.’

Meanwhile, in his letter to opposition leaders, the PM said: ‘As party leaders, we have a duty to work together at this moment of national emergency.

‘Therefore, I would like to invite all leaders of opposition parties in Parliament to a briefing with myself, the chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser next week.

‘I want to listen to your views and update you on the measures we have taken so far, such as rapidly expanding testing and providing economic support to businesses and individuals across the country.’



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