Matt Hancock blasts sunbathers for flouting coronavirus lockdown

‘It is not a request, it is a requirement’: Health Secretary Matt Hancock blasts sunbathers for flouting coronavirus lockdown rules as he says it is ‘quite unbelievable’ a ‘small minority’ of people are refusing to stay at home

  • Matt Hancock today took aim at a ‘small minority’ of people breaking lockdown
  • Health Secretary said it is ‘quite unbelievable’ people are not staying at home
  • UK’s green spaces and beaches filled up with people yesterday sparking fury  
  • Mr Hancock said it will be ‘hard’ to hit 100,000 coronavirus tests by end of April
  • He also insisted Boris Johnson is ‘okay’ despite still being in virus self-isolation 

Matt Hancock today blasted sunbathers for breaking coronavirus lockdown rules as he said it is ‘quite unbelievable’ that a ‘small minority’ of people are refusing to stay at home. 

The Health Secretary said the government’s guidance for people not to go outside apart from in very specific circumstances was ‘not a request, it is a requirement’. 

His intervention comes after a south London park was shut indefinitely yesterday after 3,000 people visited ‘despite clear advice’ not to as green spaces and beaches across the UK filled up in defiance of Boris Johnson’s plea to stay indoors.

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.’

The government has said that people should only leave their home for food, for medicine, for exercise or to get to work if they absolutely cannot work from where they live. 

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 said: ‘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.’

Meanwhile, Mr Hancock admitted this morning that hitting his promise of 100,000 coronavirus tests by the end of April will be ‘hard’. 

He said that all the people involved in ramping up testing will have to ‘put their shoulders to the wheel’ to hit the target. 

He also insisted Mr Johnson is ‘okay’ despite still being in coronavirus self-isolation, with the Health Secretary saying the PM ‘has very much got his hand on the tiller’ of the crisis.  

Matt Hancock today took aim at sunbathers flouting coronavirus lockdown rules as he said it was ‘unbelievable’ a ‘small minority’ of people are not staying at home 

The Queen will tonight deliver a rallying cry to the nation in which she expresses hope that the ‘quiet, good-humoured resolve’ of the British people will help to overcome the coronavirus crisis

The nation will tonight hear from the Queen as the monarch delivers an address in which she will urge Britain to prove that this generation is ‘as strong as any’. 

There are fears the current warm weather could tempt people to flaunt social distancing measures and the government will be hoping the Queen’s address will persuade people to stick to the rules, especially as the sun shines.

Lambeth Council tweeted yesterday to say that Brockwell Park had been shut because of the ‘unacceptable’ behaviour of some people. 

Mr Hancock today said the end of lockdown measures ‘depends on how people behave’ as he urged everyone to stay at home. 

He told Sky News: ‘Every single person watching this programme can do their bit to get us out of this faster and they do their bit by following the social distancing rules.’  

It came as it emerged that Mr Hancock and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are locked in a battle over when to lift the economically devastating lockdown. 

Mr Sunak has made ‘robust’ representations to the Health Secretary, arguing that unless a path is mapped now for a swift return to normal economic activity it could cause lasting damage to the country.

Government critics of Mr Hancock argue his ‘careerist’ fear of being personally blamed for a collapse in the NHS is blinding him to the dangers of a protracted lockdown.

But allies of Mr Hancock hit back last night, saying: ‘He is just doing his job, which is to protect the NHS.’ 

A formal decision about the extension of the strict social distancing rules cannot be made until Good Friday – the earliest point at which its effects would register on the infection figures. 

However, with more than 700 extra deaths recorded yesterday, an extension for at least another three weeks after Easter is seen as a formality. 

Mr Hancock today dismissed the claims regarding his relationship with Mr Sunak as he said: ‘We are working very closely together and what matters is that we can get out of this as fast as possible and to do that we have to make sure that as many people as possible follow the rules so that we can slow the spread.’ 

The Queen will tonight deliver a televised message in which she will recognise the pain felt by many families living through this ‘time of disruption’.

She will personally thank front-line NHS staff, care workers and others carrying out essential roles for their efforts, in what is expected to be a deeply personal message reflecting her experience in other difficult times.

The UK death toll yesterday rose by 708 – bringing the number of coronavirus-related hospital deaths to 4,313 as of 5pm on Friday, up from 3,605 the day before. A five-year-old child was among the victims. 

The Queen will say in her address to the country and Commonwealth: ‘I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge.

‘And those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any.

‘That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet, good-humoured resolve and of fellow feeling still characterise this country.’

A South London park has shut indefinitely after 3,000 people visited earlier today ‘despite clear advice’ as green spaces and beaches fill up across the UK in defiance of Boris Johnson’s plea for Brits to stay indoors. Pictured: Crowds in Regents Park yesterday

Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured) has made ‘robust’ representations to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, arguing that unless a path is mapped now for a swift return to normal economic activity it could cause lasting damage to the country

She will acknowledge the ‘grief’ some have experienced, the ‘financial difficulties’ many face, and the ‘enormous changes’ the country is enduring, after almost two weeks of lockdown to tackle the spread of Covid-19.

With hundreds of thousands answering the call for NHS volunteers and others supporting vulnerable people in their communities, the monarch will say she hopes in the future everyone will be able to feel ‘pride’ in how they rose to the challenge.

Commenting on the difficulties facing the nation, the Queen, 93, will say: ‘I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time.

‘A time of disruption in the life of our country: a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.’

In reference to the warm weather, the Queen will thank those who are following the official guidance to stay at home to protect the vulnerable.

The televised address will be a rare event, with the head of state only making three previous appearances during troubled times.  

Speeches were broadcast after the Queen Mother’s death in 2002, ahead of Diana, Princess of Wales’s funeral in 1997, and about the first Gulf War in 1991.  

Source: Read Full Article