Richard Spurr 4am - 7am
Crowds flock to parks and beaches despite Covid-19 warning from top scientists
27 February 2021, 16:53
People have rushed to beaches and park across the UK amid the hot weather this weekend - despite warnings from top scientists to stay at home.
Beach fronts in Brighton and Southend-on-Sea and were busy as temperatures rise to the highest for months.
Passers-by snapped crowds who, while largely socially distanced, were relaxing instead of exercising - against current Covid-19 restrictions.
A former Brighton PCSO tweeted that he "wouldn't be surprised if we have Lockdown 4" after witnessing crowds at the beach.
Heaving parks were also snapped in parks across London and in Bishop's Park, where anti-lockdown protesters gathered on Saturday morning.
"It mad and in no way is distancing occurring," one person walking in Regent's Park tweeted, "not going to take a pic of playground but it was rammed."
It comes despite England's deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, warning people "don't wreck this now" as pleasant weather washes over the country.
He said there are already "some worrying signs that people are relaxing" at "exactly the wrong time" while infections, hospitalisations and deaths remain high.
Rules currently allow each person outdoor exercise once per day, close to home, by themselves or with their household, one other person or a support bubble.
But stopping to sit down on a bench - or lie on the beach - for a long period of time remains against the restrictions.
Prof Van-Tam also alerted people who have already been vaccinated to the dangers of "taking their foot off the brake" and being tempted to break the rules.
He told a press conference on Friday: "All the patients that I vaccinate... I say to them, 'Remember, all the rules still apply to you and all of us until we're in a much safer place'. It doesn't change because you've had your first dose of vaccine.
"And so, please don't be tempted to think, 'Well, one home visit might be all right now the weather is getting better, going to be a nice weekend, one small gathering in your house won't really matter'.
"So my key message tonight is look, this is all going very well but there are some worrying signs that people are relaxing, taking their foot off the brake at exactly the wrong time."
It is the 54th day since the third national lockdown was announced by prime minister Boris Johnson on January 4.