Lockdown rules should be relaxed and stop 'harassing sunbathers' scientific adviser says

14 April 2020, 06:21

Police have been stopping people sunbathing
Police have been stopping people sunbathing. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Government should "call off the dogs" and stop "harassing" people sunbathing, a senior adviser has said as the lockdown looks set to continue for three more weeks.

Dominic Raab has insisted the plan to tackle the coronavirus pandemic "is working" but warned the nationwide coronavirus lockdown will not be lifted this week.

The Foreign Secretary showed some cautious optimism as he revealed the latest data suggested the UK was "starting to win this struggle", three weeks after restrictions were imposed.

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The Government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) will meet twice this week to consider the effectiveness of the measures, which have been in place for three weeks.

But one adviser on a top committee which feeds into Sage is alarmed at police and councils shutting down parks and threatening to fine sunbathers.

The Telegraph reported Professor Robert Dingwall insisted there was no scientific evidence he had seen to suggest sunbathers could infect other park users if they follow social distancing rules.

The Professor, who has been advising UK governments for 30 years, said: “If it was entirely down to me I would be calling the dogs off. I don’t think it is appropriate to harass sunbathers. It is an indictment of the political and scientific elite that they are not recognising that people living in flats and social housing do not have an alternative to going to parks.”

The Professor is part of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (Nervtag), which advises the Government “on the threat posed by new and emerging respiratory viruses”.

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Dozens of beachgoers who ignored Government advice and travelled to the coast over the Easter weekend to soak up the sunshine have been fined.

Police issued more than 50 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to day-trippers in Brighton, East Sussex, who live outside of the county.

Officers clamped down on tourists defying Government coronavirus advice to stay at home between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, with more than 100 fines in total handed out across the county.

Police have also cracked down on people sunbathing in parks and threatening to fine those who do not listen to Government advice.