Fears spring sunshine will see people flouting coronavirus lockdown


Fears spring sunshine and 61F highs over next two days will see more people flouting coronavirus lockdown – as poll finds up to 8% of Britons are still visiting friends and doing ‘non-essential’ shopping

  • Poll found 7 per cent of Britons are still going out to see friends with 8 per cent doing ‘non-essential shopping’ 
  • Survey for ITV’s Peston show showed six per cent (3.1 million) people are continuing to hug and shake hands
  • Statistics come as rising temperatures are seeing people flocking to parks and public spaces to bask in sun 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

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A worrying 5.8 million people across the UK are continuing to go about their daily lives and shopping for unnecessary goods in spite of government warnings they are putting lives at risk. 

The shock poll has found 7 per cent of Britons are still going out to see friends, 8 per cent are doing ‘non-essential shopping’ and 5 percent have not started washing their hands more. 

The survey conducted for ITV’s Peston show last night showed six per cent (3.1 million) people are continuing to hug others and shake hands, despite warnings this will spread the deadly Covid-19 virus. 

Some 11 per cent of people are still going to public places while 33 per cent are stockpiling and ignoring pleas from supermarkets to save goods for the elderly, vulnerable and NHS workers. 

The statistics come as rising temperatures are seeing more people flocking to parks and public spaces to bask in the sunshine. 

Joggers go for a run at a park in London this morning as the Prime Minister warned Britons to only leave their homes for essential reasons

Cyclists ride past graffiti reading 'good luck and stay safe' underneath Waterloo Bridge in Westminster this morning

Cyclists ride past graffiti reading ‘good luck and stay safe’ underneath Waterloo Bridge in Westminster this morning

People formed a queue outside Morrisons in Canning Town, East London first thing this morning

People formed a queue outside Morrisons in Canning Town, East London first thing this morning 

Commuters - including key workers - are still using the Tube to get to work. Pictured, people at Canning Town Station today

Commuters – including key workers – are still using the Tube to get to work. Pictured, people at Canning Town Station today

A further eight per cent of people (5.8 million) are continuing to go shopping for goods when not absolutely necessary and seven per cent are meeting people outside of the immediate family they are living with, according to the JL Partners survey. 

It also revealed that some five per cent of people – or 2.6 million of the population – are still not washing their hands more than usual, or for longer than usual. 

Some 34 per cent of people still going shopping and seeing friends claim they are doing it ‘safely’, while 14 per cent claim the risk of coronavirus is being ‘exaggerated’ and seven per cent refuse to abandon their daily habits because the government ‘hasn’t ruled it out’.

Those refusing to comply by the government advice are generally young males while 15 per cent steadfastly say ‘we can’t let the virus defeat us’.   

A man and a woman embrace in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester yesterday despite the strict lockdown

A man and a woman embrace in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester yesterday despite the strict lockdown

It was be a generally clear and sunny spring day cross much of the UK today, with maximum temperatures of around 16C. 

Yesterday, police were seen dispersing Britons gathered in parks and other public places across the UK amid strict advice to stay at home.

In Shepherd’s Bush in west London, people soaked up the sun, seemingly oblivious to the tight restrictions imposed by the government on Monday. Police were seen telling them to leave and go home.

Others were seen enjoying the weather at Battersea Park in south-west London, on the beach in Portsmouth and in the sea off Eastbourne.

 Police also used megaphones to tell people to stay at home unless absolutely necessary, saying ‘this is serious, we need to beat corona.’ 

In his address to the nation on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Britain’s 66million people they must stay at home unless they are front-line workers, need to shop infrequently to buy food or medicine or are helping a vulnerable person. 

He also said one form of exercise was permitted each day, such as dog-walking – but not sunbathing or merely sitting outside with friends. 

Mr Johnson ordered the immediate closure of all non-essential shops and threatened people with fines or even arrest if they did not ‘stay at home’.

The Prime Minister’s shutdown will last for a minimum of three weeks and the UK’s new state of emergency is unprecedented in modern history. 

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