Matt Hancock spotted in park as hundreds ignore Boris’ plea to stay home
Matt Hancock was spotted out and about at a busy park today as hundreds ignored Boris Johnson’s pleas to stay home this weekend.
Video footage obtained by MailOnline shows the health secretary taking his Government-mandated daily exercise by walking through a park in North London.
A witness said Mr Hancock was playing rugby with his son and was ‘covered head to toe in mud’.
A member of the public is heard asking ‘you’re a bit dirty mate?’ in the video. Mr Hancock replies: ‘Bit of a muddy Saturday.’
Other beauty spots across the country were crowded on Saturday, with walkers flooding Victoria Park in London and large numbers strolling along the riverside in Newcastle.
Official government guidance on daily exercise states: ‘You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.’
Police were seen talking to people flouting lockdown rules by relaxing on benches in some areas.
Meanwhile, 11 people were arrested after 150 gathered for an anti-lockdown protest in Birmingham. Officers said they told people not to congregate ’20 times’
It comes after Boris Johnson released a video asking Brits to ‘think twice’ before leaving their houses this weekend.
He said: ‘It’s safest to assume that you may have Covid. So please really think twice before leaving the house this weekend and only do so if it’s absolutely necessary.’
The Prime Minister has pleaded with the nation to not relax now the UK has launched its Covid vaccination programme.
He said: ‘This is not the time for the slightest relaxation of our national resolve and our individual efforts. So please stay at home, please protect the NHS and save lives.’
Both Mr Johnson and Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty have warned the NHS is ‘under extreme pressure’ amid the third national lockdown.
Professor Whitty believes cases have already peaked but a peak in hospitalisations and deaths is still yet to come.
Praising the millions who have made sacrifices during the pandemic, he said: ‘The peak of deaths, I fear, is in the future.
‘The peak of hospitalisations in some parts of the country may be around about now and beginning to come off the very, very top.
‘Because people are sticking so well to the guidelines we do think the peaks are coming over the next week to 10 days for most places in terms of new people into hospital.’
The police have toughened their enforcement of the rules with the backing of Home Secretary Priti Patel who claims officers should move faster to issue fines.
National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman Martin Hewitt said officers would no longer ‘waste time’ trying to reason with people and are committed to issuing fines to those refusing to wear masks.
The UK reported 41,346 new cases today, bringing the country’s total to 3,357,361.
Another 1,295 people have died with the virus, taking the death toll to 88,590, according to official Government data.
As of yesterday, 3,559,179 people have received their first vaccine dose – the most out of any country in Europe.
The Department of Health and Social Care has declined to comment.
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