Police urge Brits to stick to lockdown as 'small minority' continue to sunbathe on parks and beaches

Joe GampContributor, Yahoo News UK
Yahoo News UK
Police are urging the public to maintain social distancing measures as warm weather drew crowds to parks and beaches this week. (SWNS/Getty Images)
Police are urging the public to maintain social distancing measures as warm weather drew crowds to parks and beaches this week. (SWNS/Getty Images)

Police forces across the UK are urging Brits to maintain coronavirus social distancing after images showed people sunbathing in parks and packing out seafronts.

Images taken at Hove seafront in East Sussex on Thursday show people sitting on benches enjoying ice cream and group gatherings.

Footage also shows numbers of people sunbathing in London parks, including Greenwich, Blackheath and Wimbledon.

As such, police forces are cautioning the public to stick to the government’s social distancing rules, despite warmer weather this week and temperatures predicted to hit 24C at the weekend.

People are seen sunbathing by the lake in Regents Park as lockdown restrictions remain in place. (Getty Images)
People are seen sunbathing by the lake in Regents Park as lockdown restrictions remain in place. (Getty Images)

Following reports of increased activity, Sussex Police assistant chief constable Dave Miller pleaded with people to resist the temptation to go outside in groups or to flout the guidelines.

Miller wrote in an open letter: “We are your NHS and carers, your public and emergency services, and key workers putting themselves forward every day to ensure people can be cared for and communities given access to the things they need.

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“Our staff are working hard to prevent the spread of the virus. Our nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals are working around the clock to save lives.

Hundreds of locals were seen strolling along the Hove seafront in East Sussex to enjoy the sunshine on Thursday. (SWNS)
Hundreds of locals were seen strolling along the Hove seafront in East Sussex to enjoy the sunshine on Thursday. (SWNS)

“Our key workers are putting themselves forward every day to ensure people can be cared for, children educated and looked after, and communities given access to the things they need.

“We are working together to protect you and prevent deaths in our county from coronavirus. We thank you for all that you are doing to support us.

“The most important thing you can do is to continue following the social distancing rules.”

Police officers patrol St James's Park, during lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. (AP)
Police officers patrol St James's Park, during lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. (AP)

The UK is in its fifth week of social distancing restrictions, with the government announcing on April 17 that measures will be kept in place for “at least” another three weeks.

On Friday, Matt Hancock warned it was too soon for UK lockdown measures to be relaxed, with the next review of the rules expected on May 7.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that lockdown can be eased when the number of new coronavirus cases falls.

“Now that we’re at the peak, and we very much hope that things will start to slow down and, if and when they do, then the speed with which the number of new cases reduces will frankly will determine how long we need to keep the measures on and that is as yet unknown,” he said.

The health secretary also announced plans to introduce contract tracing on a “large scale” through smartphone app technology, as a way of easing coronavirus restrictions.

Matt Hancock said it is too early to lift social distancing measures. (PA)
Matt Hancock said it is too early to lift social distancing measures. (PA)

On Friday, it was announced there was 768 new hospital deaths in the UK related to COVID-19, bringing the total to 19,506.

The Department of Health has also said there are now 143,464 confirmed cases, up 5,386.

There are 2.7 million cases globally, according to Johns Hopkins University, with 191,000 deaths and 745,000 recoveries.

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