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Johnson 'will act with extreme caution' when easing restrictions as UK death toll tops 31,500

Members of the public have been warned not to “throw away” their hard work amid reports of large crowds enjoying the good weather outdoors.

A police officer advises people to leave the beach in Brighton.
A police officer advises people to leave the beach in Brighton.

A FURTHER 346 people in the UK have died as a result of Covid-19, bringing the death toll there to 31,587.

The figure was announced at the UK government’s daily press briefing.

Speaking at the press conference, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Prime Minister Boris Johnson will proceed with “extreme caution” when easing restrictions.

Shapps also warned the public not to “throw away” their hard work amid reports of large crowds of people enjoying the good weather in locations across the UK, saying it would be “absolutely tragic” if this good work was undone.

His warning came after police in the UK said they were “fighting a losing battle” as people went to the beach and other outdoor areas.

Johnson is expected to announce very modest changes in detailing his “road map” for easing restrictions tomorrow evening, but there are concerns mixed messaging has prompted the public to head outside.

Shapps said: “It’s vital that we don’t throw away essentially the great work of seven weeks of people respecting very impressively the rules and the guidelines by throwing it away because it happens to be sunny outside this weekend, that would be absolutely tragic.”

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, he said the UK government would be proceeding with “an unbelievable degree of caution”.

His warning was echoed by deputy chief medical officer for England, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, who said Johnson’s next steps will be “extremely cautious and extremely careful and extremely painstaking”.

Police in Hackney, east London, today said that “sadly we’re fighting a losing battle in the parks today”, adding: “Literally hundreds of people sitting having pizza, beers, wines.”

And the Maritime and Coastguard Agency pleaded with the public to stay away from beaches, revealing it had to deal with 97 incidents on Friday – the highest figure since lockdown began in March.

Transport

Schapps led today’s briefing to announce a £250 million (about €285 million) emergency package to boost cycling and walking in Britain, warning that only one in 10 passengers could travel on some forms of public transport while abiding by the two metre social distancing rule.

It was also confirmed that the UK government has failed to meet its own target of 100,000 tests per day for the seventh day in a row, saying there were 96,878 in the 24 hours up to 9am today.

The UK is also set to introduce a 14-day mandatory quarantine for most international arrivals, reports said today.

According to reports, this won’t include people travelling from Ireland. All other people coming into Britain by air, sea and rail will be required to self-isolate for a fortnight, the Times reported.

With reporting by Órla Ryan

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