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Public urged to stay at home and away from parks as temperatures to hit 26C

Matt Hancock said the Easter weekend will be a ‘test of the nation’s resolve’.

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The UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus (Andrew Matthews/PA)

People have been urged to resist visiting their local beach or park this weekend as temperatures are expected to soar to 26C.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the Easter weekend will be a “test of the nation’s resolve” as he issued another warning to the public to “stay at home” amid the coronavirus crisis.

The Met Office said London could see highs of 25C or 26C, while much of England and Wales is expected to record temperatures of 18C to 24C.

Speaking at the daily press conference about the importance of keeping to the lockdown rules, Mr Hancock said: “This is a national effort, and every single person in this country can play their part in this plan.

“This Easter will be another test of the nation’s resolve. It’s a time of year when people normally come together.

“But however warm the weather, however tempting your local beach or park, we need everyone to stay at home.

“Because in hospitals across the country, NHS staff are battling day and night to keep desperately sick people breathing, and they need you to stay at home.”

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Unusually quiet north and southbound carriages on the A30 in Cornwall during the Easter bank holiday weekend (Ben Birchall/PA)

Unusually quiet north and southbound carriages on the A30 in Cornwall during the Easter bank holiday weekend (Ben Birchall/PA)

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Unusually quiet north and southbound carriages on the A30 in Cornwall during the Easter bank holiday weekend (Ben Birchall/PA)

Met Office forecaster Greg Dewhurst said coastal areas such as Brighton and Margate could see highs of 18C.

Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are likely to record temperatures of 15C to 18C, he said.

Police across the UK thanked the public for staying at home and away from beauty spots on Good Friday.

Patrols have been ramped up country-wide as councils warned that anyone embarking on an Easter getaway could expect to be turned away by police.

Visuals from location technology firm TomTom showed traffic in London, Manchester and Birmingham was significantly down on Thursday compared with the equivalent day in 2019.

But Surrey Police said officers have responded to reports in the county of people continuing to ignore government restrictions to not gather in groups.

Surrey Police deployed a “sky talk” drone on Friday morning in Walton-on-Thames to break up a group of 30 people not abiding to social distancing regulations.

The force said this method of communicating, without physically putting officers at additional risk by approaching them, was effective, and the group left without officers having to take further action.

If required, the drone will direct large groups of people congregating in outdoor spaces to leave the area by playing a pre-recorded message of: “Attention this a police message. You are gathering in breach of government guidelines to stay at home in response to the coronavirus. You are putting lives at risk. Please disperse immediately and return home.”

Superintendent Graham Barnett said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank the majority of the public who have been sticking to the Government guidelines by staying local and observing social distancing.

“While Surrey Police understands that the nice weather makes staying indoors difficult, by doing so you are helping to slow the spread of coronavirus, ensuring the National Health Service maintains its capacity to treat the most vulnerable people in our communities, and ultimately save lives.

“Easter is traditionally a time for families and people coming together.

“This year it is more significant than ever. Embrace this opportunity to bring something positive from this unprecedented situation.

“We ask you to stay at home and protect the NHS to save lives.”

PA