Public warned of outdoor exercise ban but no ‘imminent’ change to lockdown

Home UK Public warned of outdoor exercise ban but no ‘imminent’ change to lockdown
Public warned of outdoor exercise ban but no ‘imminent’ change to lockdown

The health secretary has warned Britons that outdoor exercise may be banned if people continue to flout social distancing rules – though he said no "imminent" changes to the nationwide lockdown are currently in the offing.

Matt Hancock used Sunday's daily government briefing on coronavirus to again urge people not to flout restrictions designed to keep people at home.

He said he "understands how difficult" the COVID-19 pandemic is for the country after two people he was "fond of" passed away from the disease, but insisted the lockdown must be adhered to despite the warm weather.

Police pour water on barbecue amid lockdown

Earlier, the health secretary's message to the public on Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sunday was clear: if you want the lockdown to end, follow the rules.

"The vast majority of people are following the public health advice, which is absolutely critical, and staying at home," he said.


"But there are a small minority of people who are still not doing that – it's quite unbelievable frankly to see that there are some people who are not following the advice."

Asked by Sophy Ridge whether sunbathing in public spaces was against the law, he said: "Sunbathing is against the rules that have been set out for important public health reasons."

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He warned those who are flouting the guidance: "You are putting others' lives at risk and you are putting yourself in harm's way."

Matt Hancock says sunbathing is against the rules
'Sunbathing is against the rules'

And he told Andrew Marr on the BBC: "I don't want to have to take away exercise as a reason to leave home… if too many people are not following the rules."

Asked about possible changes to the lockdown rules at the daily briefing, the health secretary said nothing was "imminent".

His remarks came on a weekend when crowds defied pleas from Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to give into the temptation of the sunshine, and instead flouted government rules on when people can leave their homes.

The instructions state that people should only be leaving their house during the lockdown for food, health reasons, outdoor exercise or to go to work if they cannot do their job from home.

The prime minister and other senior cabinet figures had urged the public not to flout those social distancing measures ahead of the weekend, warning that it would put more lives at risk.

Another 621 coronavirus victims across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were confirmed by the Department of Health and Social care earlier on Sunday, taking the UK total to 4,934.

Aerial footage has shown some Londoners sunbathing, despite social distancing advice.
People out. During lockdown. Again
People take their exercise in Greenwich Park in south London
Image: People take their exercise in Greenwich Park in south London

Mr Hancock told the briefing it was "mission critical" for people to follow the current instructions to save more lives.

"The more people follow the rules, the faster we will all be through it," he said.

He added: "We are not yet confident enough to be able to change the rules.

"Whether they have had the coronavirus or not, the rules are the same for everyone."

Boris Johnson has announced he will sontinue to self-isolate with coronavirus.
PM urges people to stay home this weekend
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