MPs warn beaches may have to be shut down as crowds spark fears of a second coronavirus wave
- Several MPs of constituencies with beaches have warned they may have to shut
- They fear that huge numbers of visitors to the beaches could spark second wave
- Last week, beaches all over England were packed with hundreds of sun-lovers
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Britain’s beaches may have to be shut down because of a second coronavirus wave, coastal MPs have warned.
The warning comes after sun-seekers up and down the country flocked to beaches to enjoy the warm weather last week.
Images showed several beaches packed with people, with many not following social distancing guidelines.
Now, several MPs have warned that their areas could be hit with localised lockdowns following a potential surge in coronavirus cases.
People on the beach in Bournemouth, Dorset last Tuesday. There are fears huge numbers of beach visitors could lead to a second coronavirus wave
People enjoy the sunshine on the beach near the Brighton Pier in Brighton on the south coast of England on June 2
Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavillion, said: ‘Local businesses in Brighton are already suffering hugely from this crisis.
‘It would be a disaster for them if strict lockdown measures had to be re-imposed locally because of a rising infection rate partly brought about by thousands of visitors.
‘To visitors who love coming to Brighton, we love having you, but I’m asking you now – please, stay away until the city is ready to welcome you.’
Sheryll Murray, the Conservative MP for South East Cornwall, said: ‘We see waves at the beach but the wave I do not want to see is a second virus wave caused by too many people coming to our fabulous coastline.’
Tory MP for St Austell and Newquay, Steve Double, added: ‘Whilst people have the freedom to travel to visit beaches, we would ask people to continue to be responsible.
‘If you arrive and a beach looks full then please don’t go onto the beach, it’s very important that if people do visit they maintain social distancing.’
It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the UK was ‘winning the battle’ against coronavirus, enabling the easing of some lockdown restrictions in England.
There are still an estimated 5,500 people being infected by the virus every day, government data shows, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson is keen to reopen the economy and get people back to work as soon as possible.
Mr Hancock insisted today lockdown restrictions will be lifted ‘cautiously’ to avoid a second spike of the disease and said there was no ‘trade off’ between the economy and the health of the nation.
People enjoy the sunshine on the beach at Southend-On-Sea in Essex. MPs with beaches in their constituencies have implored visitors to stay away
He also insisted the R number is below one across the country – despite warnings on Friday it was above one in some parts of England.
If R is one or higher, the virus will spread exponentially through the population, while a value less than one indicates the virus is in decline.
Estimates produced by experts at Public Health England and Cambridge University suggested the R-rate is above the danger level of 1 in the North West and South West.
The finding has raised the prospect of regional easing of lockdowns in parts of the UK. The R denotes the average number of people an infected patient passes the virus to and keeping it below 1 is crucial to prevent a second surge of the virus.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Hancock said today: ‘Overall R remains below one, between 0.7 and 0.9 by the best estimate of SAGE including in all parts of the country so we are able to proceed.
‘Sadly there are still people dying but the number of people dying each day is also falling, the number of people admitted to hospital is falling, the number of people in hospital is falling.
‘We are winning the battle against this disease and that allows us to release more of the restrictions – including putting in place this local action supported by the test and trace system.’
On Friday, the Health Secretary added that the Government was ‘seeking to take a more local approach’ to tackling outbreaks.
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