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Matt Hancock blasts 'unbelievable' sunbathers for flouting coronavirus lockdown rules

Matt Hancock said sunbathing was against government guidelines (Sky News)

2 min read

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has accused those out enjoying the weekend sunshine of “putting lives at risk” as he urged Brits to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge, he said sunbathing was against the rules and reiterated Government guidance that people can only go outside for one short period of exercise a day. 

He said: “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's quite unbelievable, frankly, to see that there are some people who are not following the advice, but the vast and overwhelming majority of people are.”

Asked for clarification on whether people could sunbathe if they practised social distancing, Mr Hancock replied: "Sunbathing is against the rules that have been set out for important public health reasons."

He added: “We're absolutely clear that you should not leave your home unless it's for one of four reasons: medical reasons, to buy food, to go to work if you can't work at home, or for exercise.

“I understand how difficult this is. But the problem is that when you go out it's not only that you might directly interact with somebody closer than two metres. 

“It's also that whenever you do [go outside] you can spread the virus through touching something which somebody else then touches or you could pick it up that way.

“We’re crystal clear in the guidance of 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.”

The Health Secretary then addressed the “small minority” ignoring the guidelines, accusing them of “putting others lives at risk” as well as putting themselves in harm’s way. 

It comes after the Prime Minister urged Brits on Friday to resist going outside to enjoy the warm weather and stay at home. 

Saturday saw the hottest temperatures of the year so far as the UK entered its second weekend under lockdown. 

Authorities in London were forced to shut Brockwell Park after over 3,000 people descended on the green space.

And officers in the capital said they were "disappointed" after moving on more than 100 people from Primrose Hill, before returning soon after to find many more gathered there.

Meanwhile, police in Brighton and Surrey took to social media urging the public to stay home after images surfaced of beauty spots packed with people. 

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