Coronavirus: Brits cycle and exercise together after ignoring plea to stay home during sunshine

A Sussex Police patrol car moves among people walking along the promenade in Brighton this week (Picture: PA)

Many Brits have ignored a plea from the Prime Minister to stay home this weekend after they were pictured gathering in parks for exercise and cycling in groups.

Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged the public to stick with coronavirus social distancing rules and resist the temptation to enjoy the sunshine forecast this weekend.

But pictures taken around the country showed that some people had ignored that message.

Cyclists were pictured in groups in Central London’s Regent's Park and members of the public were also seen exercising near each other in Paddington Recreation Ground. 

Other images showed people enjoying the sunshine in Cambridge and Brighton.

Police community support officers patrolling Brighton seafront on 1 April (Picture: Getty)

Forces have said they will issue fines and punishments if they see people making non-essential journeys this weekend after Hancock said the country cannot relax on social distancing, adding: “If we do, people will die.”

Gloucestershire Police issued a warning on holidays, saying officers will be stopping people who look like they may be heading away for a few days.

Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice

Live: Follow all the latest updates from the UK and around the world

Fact-checker: The number of COVID-19 cases in your local area

6 charts and maps that explain how COVID-19 is spreading

The force said “there has been particular concern among some communities that people who own second homes in the area will be visiting over the Easter holiday” and visitors will put extra pressure on the local NHS.

Meanwhile, in Hampshire, officers and paramedics have told people to stick to social distancing after three ambulances were called on a “selfish and avoidable deployment” to a man having a bad acid trip following a house party.

Police talk to a member of the public caught fishing (Picture: Getty)

The warnings come two weeks after parks and beaches across the UK were pictured full, days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the social distancing rules.

The full-lockdown came hours later on 23 March.

Authorities in Wales have closed beach-side car parks to deter people from “using the weather to treat what is a national crisis like a national holiday”.

On Friday, England’s chief nursing officer, Ruth May, urged people to think of two nurses who died after contracting coronavirus and “stay home for them”.

Areema Nasreen and Aimee O’Rourke, both mothers of three children, died alongside two healthcare assistants.

May, speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference, said: “This weekend is going to be very warm and it will be very tempting to go out and enjoy those summer rays.

“But please, I ask you to remember Aimee and Areema. Please stay at home for them.”

Coronavirus: what happened today?

Click here to sign up to the latest news, advice and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter