Crowds flock to parks and beaches during 15C sunshine despite scientist’s Covid warning

Crowds flock to parks and beaches during 15C sunshine despite scientist’s Covid warning

 

Crowds have flocked to beaches and parks in the sunshine today – despite a top scientist warning the fight against coronavirus is not over.

Lockdown-weary sun seeking Brits headed to spots like Brighton, Southend-on-Sea and Exeter amid 15C temperatures – with pictures showing significant crowds in places.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam had used last night’s No10 press conference to warn lockdown could be extended if people “relax” too much over a sunny weekend.

He used a football analogy to hammer home the message that the pandemic is still very much an issue, comparing the situation to relaxing when 3-0 up – and still losing 4-3.

Boris Johnson gave the nation a taste of hope this week by unveiling his roadmap – which said pub beer gardens could open as early as April 12 and all restrictions could end as early as June 21.

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And the number of first vaccine doses dished out in Britain has passed 19million – with experts confirming the second phase of the rollout will go to people in their 40s, then their 30s, then 18-29.

But images from parts of the nation today show people are still heading out and enjoying the February sunshine in parks and on beaches.

It came as Sussex Police, who monitor the popular beach at Brighton, warned: “Don’t stop now!”

The force tweeted: “There are concerns that after a long year of restrictions, falling infection rates, the vaccine rollout, better weather and the roadmap out of lockdown earlier this week, that people may get complacent.

“But the rule of 6 or 2 families doesn’t begin until March 29.”

And speaking after one in five of England’s council areas saw a rise in cases, the Prof Van-Tam said last night: “Please don’t be tempted to think: ‘Well, one home visit might be all right now, weather ’s getting better, going to be a nice weekend’.

“‘One small gathering in your house won’t really matter’. I’m afraid it does. There are some worry signs that people are relaxing, taking their foot off the brake at exactly the wrong time.

“It’s a bit like being 3-0 up in a game and thinking ‘we can’t possibly lose’. But how many times have you seen the other side take it 4-3?

“Do not wreck this now. It is too early to relax. Just continue to maintain discipline and hang on just a few more months. Do not wreck this now. We are so close.”

Met Office forecaster Aidan McGivern said of this weekend’s weather: “Winter will go out on a whimper this weekend with conditions set to be very quiet and dry for most.

“For southern parts of the country it’s looking like a lovely afternoon with plenty of sunny skies after a frosty start to the morning.

“Temperatures won’t be as mild as they have been in the last few days but the mercury will still be above average.

“Most parts of the UK will see temperatures of between 11C and 13C.”

People took advantage of the sunny weather to visit Greenwich Park, London

Walkers headed to Bournemouth to stroll along the front

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