Boris Johnson has urged people not to “stuff this up” after lockdown restrictions were eased in England.
The Prime Minister took advantage of the new freedoms by having a haircut – barbers had been among the businesses closed under measures to curb the spread of coronavirus – and a drink at a pub near his Chequers country retreat.
Drinkers flocked to popular areas, including London’s Soho, over the weekend, prompting fears over the lack of social distancing.
Mr Johnson said he was not shocked by some of the scenes over the weekend because “I understand what human nature is” but added that the overwhelming majority had behaved sensibly.
“There is a risk that some people will not obey the guidelines, that’s always going to be there,” he said.
“But the overwhelming majority of people have and so far we think that the measures and the package is working.
“But we cannot be complacent, we really can’t afford to stuff this up, to blow it now.
“We have got to keep going in the prudent way that we are.”
He urged people to “maintain discipline” in order to “get back to life as close to normal as possible as fast as possible”.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said police forces reported being “quieter than expected” despite a “small number of individual incidents” around England.
Mr Johnson’s new haircut was on show as he visited Goole in East Yorkshire to promote the Government’s efforts to protect the economy from the impact of a coronavirus recession.
More than £100 million is to be invested in unpaid traineeships for young people.
Businesses offering the unpaid placements in England will receive a £1,000 bonus per trainee.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce the move for 18 to 24-year-olds on Wednesday when he unveils an economic strategy to deal with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, it was also reported that Mr Sunak will exempt the majority of home-buyers from paying stamp duty.
The Times reported that the Chancellor would outline plans this week to raise the threshold at which people start paying stamp duty from £125,000 to as high as £500,000.
As part of the traineeship initiative, which lasts from six weeks to six months, young people receive maths, English and CV writing training as well as guidance about what to expect in the workplace.
The £111 million schemes include unpaid work experience but trainees will continue to be eligible to receive welfare payments during their course.
The expanded scheme will be in place in England from September 2020.
The Government said it will also provide £21 million to the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for similar initiatives.
Also, work academies are to get a £17 million investment.
Funding is being provided for more than 30,000 extra places at sector-based work academies, the Treasury said.
In other developments:
– England’s deputy chief medical officer Dr Jenny Harries backed guidance from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) which says that most youngsters with conditions such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, and kidney disease will not need to continue to shield from the end of the month.
– Mr Johnson claimed “too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have” during the coronavirus crisis.
– The Greek government said flights from the UK would be allowed from July 15.
– Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged caution as outdoor hospitality spaces reopened, saying: “If you go to a bar or a restaurant outside right now, if it feels totally normal, exactly like it was before this pandemic, then something is wrong.”