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Public urged to stay home and save lives as Easter weekend approaches
9 April 2020, 09:28
The public are being urged to resist the temptation to visit friends and family as the Easter weekend is predicted to bring warmer weather.
Despite forecasting that temperatures could reach up to 25C in some parts of the country over the weekend, the Met Office emphasised people should follow the Government's strict lockdown rules.
Politicians, police, rail companies and tourist sites have also warned people must continue to avoid all non-essential travel amid the coronavirus outbreak.
So far in the UK, more than 7,000 people have died of the virus - and sadly this number is expected to rise as the pandemic continues.
But it is not all bad news, as the Number 10's deputy chief scientific adviser Professor Angela McLean said yesterday the number of new infections seemed to be working.
She said this proved the pandemic was not "out of control" and added this was "good news".
But that does not mean that Britons should flock to parks and families homes for the time being, and need to remain in their homes.
Yesterday, around 30 men were caught flouting lockdown rules to have a game of cricket in Chandos Recreation Ground in Edgware.
Police posted footage online which showed around 10 or so of the group sprinting away from officers, picking up their jackets as they fled.
The Easter weekend is typically one of the busiest for the UK's roads and tourist destinations.
But an AA survey has suggested that more than 20 million Easter getaway journeys will be scrapped this year as families abandon holiday plans.
Rail companies Northern and TransPennine Express have joined forces with the British Transport Police to launch a campaign reminding people it is "not acceptable" to use services for leisure activities this weekend.
Train operators have introduced amended timetables to help key workers get around and those needing to make essential journeys.
But they said passenger numbers "rose dramatically" during last weekend's good weather as some people ignored official advice and headed to the coast and beauty spots.
Superintendent Glen Alderson, of British Transport Police, said there would be an increased presence of officers at popular stations over the weekend to ensure people followed government advice.
Meanwhile, the National Trust also urged people to stay at home, with all its properties, gardens and beauty spots already closed during the nationwide lockdown.
In London, where good weather is predicted this weekend, people were reminded that the reduced service running on the capital's transport network was there only for critical workers.
The number of people using Tube and rail services has plummeted by around 95%, while bus usage has fallen by around 85%, Transport for London said.
In Wales, first minister Mark Drakeford joined council leaders and emergency and health services in signing a letter addressed to the Welsh people urging them not to break lockdown rules.
They wrote: "These rules are there to protect you and your loved ones. For most people the virus will cause a mild illness, but there's a large number of people - children, adults and grandparents - who are at risk of serious illness if they are exposed."
In Northern Ireland on Wednesday, Stormont Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: "I'm asking all of you to stay at home, which will in turn help protect our families, friends, neighbourhoods and the wider public from this terrible virus."
Police have warned holidaymakers and second homeowners caught travelling to the West Country for Easter that they will be fined and sent away.
Devon and Cornwall Police said officers will be patrolling major roads across the region to ensure lockdown measures are followed.
Met Office meteorologist Luke Miall, said that the Easter weekend would get off to a warm start before gradually becoming cooler.
Temperatures could reach 24 or 25C in southern areas on Good Friday, with the risk of some showers in parts of Scotland, the North East and the Midlands by the afternoon.
The south will also be warm on Saturday, with conditions cooler elsewhere, and the risk of showers from mid-Wales northward as the day goes on.
On Easter Sunday temperatures will be cooler across the country and the focus of showers will be more on England and Wales.
By Monday temperatures will sink lower still, falling to around 14 or 15C in the South, with most places being drier.
Mr Miall said: "Despite the weather being tempting, the advice is to stay home and stay safe and remember to do that."