Thousands are flocking to the British coastline as temperatures hit 28C this weekend, just as Britain prepares to see a host of reduced lockdown measures. But today at the daily briefing the British public were warned they still have a part to play. Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said: “The measures we’ve already eased and the measures eased tomorrow, such as opening car showrooms and meeting people who are not members of our households outdoors, together will still in all likelihood keep the rate of infection below one.
“But we have to all continue to play our part in that.
“The rate of infection is between 0.7 and 0.9 the room for manoeuvre is quite limited. We’ll keep this under close scrutiny and only take further steps if we are confident the rate of infection is at a manageable level below one.”
Dr Jenny Harries, deputy chief medical officer added: “The vision of people crowding almost certainly comes with behavioural elements such as cramming into cars, potentially not sticking to the rules of who is in the car. Potentially swapping cutlery or picnic kit and being close together.
“This is a really, really critical time. Where the Government is easing measures the public need to stick to the measures.
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Dr Jenny Harries warned the visions of people of beaches was worrying
Mr Jenrick said changes to the lockdown are “modest”
“It’s sensible to have as few interactions as possible within those settings.”
It comes as foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said it is a “sensitive moment” as Britain eases lockdown measures – but the country has to transition.
From Monday, groups of up to six people will be able to meet outside in England as long as they observe social distancing as part of efforts to fight coronavirus.
Mr Raab said: “This is a sensitive moment. We can’t just stay in lockdown forever. We have got to transition.”
Jenny Harries added the public must still be cautious
The public has been warned not to go beyond official guidance as lockdown restrictions ease further, with one expert claiming the UK could face a resurgence of coronavirus cases.
Small groups of people will be able to meet within the rules for the first time from Monday in England, and more than two million clinically extremely vulnerable people who have been shielding since March will finally be allowed to spend time with other people outdoors.
But the new freedoms, which will come into effect officially after a hot weekend which has enticed people to beaches and beauty spots, must be treated with caution, England’s deputy chief medical officer has insisted.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said the Government and public had a “dual responsibility” to prevent a second wave of the virus, describing now as a “very dangerous moment”.
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Addressing the public’s responsibility in stark terms while he took part in the daily Downing Street briefing, he said: “Don’t tear the pants out of it, and don’t go further than the guidance actually says.”
And writing in the Telegraph, the Government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said ministers had to take “many other factors into consideration” in making decisions, and that Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) advice was “independent of politics”.
His comments followed earlier concern from Government advisers about easing lockdown too soon.
Four members of Sage spoke out to warn that ministers are taking risks.