The public has been urged to stay at home during the UK’s fifth weekend under lockdown, as temperatures are expected to remain high.
Forecasters have predicted warm conditions for most of the country over the weekend, prompting concerns about the “danger” that people may defy the restrictions on movement which began on March 23.
Those concerns come as the Daily Express reported that Priti Patel has not ruled out granting police additional powers to enforce lockdown measures, with the Home Secretary on Saturday expected to condemn those ignoring the ban on travel.
During Friday’s Downing Street press conference, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps urged people to stay at home despite apparent improvements in the crisis.
Mr Shapps said: “The country has done incredibly well in adhering to social distancing and there is a danger as we go into yet another warm sunny weekend that people think that perhaps these graphs are showing that the peak is over.
“It isn’t over, we’re riding perhaps, we hope, a downward trend but it is by no means, no means established yet.”
According to the Met Office, most of the UK will have a sunny weekend, with some cloud and a risk of showers on Sunday.
Temperatures are expected to remain significantly higher than average over both days, before moving closer to average figures next week.
Meteorologist Marco Petagna said that, while eastern parts of the UK may see low cloud in the morning, Saturday will be bright and sunny for most people.
He told the PA news agency: “There’s a lot of sunshine around, a bit of a chilly start to the day with a potential touch of frost in one or two spots but then plenty of sunshine.
“It won’t be as warm as it has been recently, temperatures have been in the 23C, 24C range in recent days but we’re still looking at highs of 20C and 21C towards the South East on Saturday, and highs of 20C on Sunday.”
Saturday will start largely dry with some #sunshine. However, it will be chilly in places. A lot of low #cloud will affect easternmost counties of England and Scotland, and the odd shower is possible across Wales and southwest England pic.twitter.com/GFkG74yfUa— Met Office (@metoffice) April 24, 2020
Friday’s highest recorded temperature was 23.2C, in Porthmadog, Wales, compared with an average of between 12C and 14C.
Mr Petagna said Saturday may bring one or two light showers in Wales and the South West, before an increased risk of showers for the whole country on Sunday.
He added: “We start then to see a change towards more unsettled weather as we go through Sunday and into next week, becoming a little bit cooler.
“On Sunday there’s a greater risk of showers breaking out almost anywhere really. It might be welcome rain for some, after it’s been so dry.
“There’ll still be some sunshine, even when things are unsettled.”
Questions have repeatedly been raised about when the country will move out of lockdown, as well as raising concerns about the method when the time comes.
Mr Shapps said: “When people ask me when will the measures, the social distancing, the stay at home measures, be altered, my answer in some ways is that some of this lies in your own hands.
“The more we adhere to it and are strict about the social distancing that is required, the faster that decision will be able to be made.”