Coronavirus weekend warning: Stay inside or lives will be lost, says police chief

Chief Constable Simon Bailey. Photo : Steve Adams

Chief Constable Simon Bailey. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

“Stay inside or lives will be lost.”

Dr Louise Smith, director of public health in Norfolk. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Dr Louise Smith, director of public health in Norfolk. Picture: Ella Wilkinson - Credit: Archant

That is the hard-hitting message from Norfolk’s police chief constable and director of public health as the county faces the first weekend since the government ordered people to isolate.

Springtime weather and two days off work should not be a temptation for people to venture out and about, they say, with police set to patrol hotspots they are anticipating people might head for.

On Monday night, prime minister Boris Johnson ordered the British public to stay indoors to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The government said people should only go out for essential purposes, such as shopping, getting items to vulnerable people and for exercise, once a day.

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And police have been given powers to arrest or fine those who flout the restrictions.

Simon Bailey, chief constable of Norfolk police, said: “When the prime minister made his announcement he did it for two very good reasons, to save lives and to protect the NHS.

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“He made that decision based on the best available scientific evidence and on counsel from experts.

“These are probably the most draconian measures this country has ever seen, but they are being done for all the right reasons.

“We all have a responsibility to respect that scientific advice and the prime minister’s very difficult decision and to self isolate, and to only go out for the examples which have been very clearly set out.

“If we do not do that we are putting people’s lives at risk. We will simply extend the duration of this crisis and the NHS will become overwhelmed.

“Even though it is the weekend, people have to stay in. We will be out this weekend at potential hotspots and we will engage with people, educating them and informing people of what they should or should not be doing, so we do not have to enforce the legislation.”

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk’s director of public health, said: “I know people want to be out in the spring sunshine, but it’s critical everyone continues to follow the government’s advice.

“Going out for exercise is one thing, but people must not gather in groups: avoiding meeting with people you don’t live with will help us break the chain of transmission and beat this virus.

“Keep following the government’s advice and we can keep numbers low and manageable for our NHS.”

MORE: How new police powers will affect you and your family

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