Fury as beauty spots are left strewn in litter after Happy Monday celebrations
There was fury today as beauty spots were left strewn with litter after unlocked Britons celebrated the easing of lockdown restrictions.
The start of the week saw millions embrace the return of the rule of six in England by enjoying a tipple in record-breaking temperatures and beautiful sunny weather.
But this morning the country woke up to the less pleasant site of green spaces carpeted with bottles, cans and plastic bags left by selfish louts who could not be bothered to clear up after themselves.
One walker who passed City Hall in central London this morning sent MailOnline a photo of the mess, saying: ‘This has been my walk to work every morning for the past week.
‘Personal best this morning Absolutely disgusting , the blatant disregard for the people who have to pick it up. What must the Mayor think, right outside his office!’
There were similar scenes at open spaces in Nottingham and Hull, with the problem exacerbated in some places by a lack of bins, which left some overflowing.
In happier news, Covid infections, hospital cases and deaths hit a six-month low, with four NHS regions – covering 29million people across southern England – reporting no deaths on Sunday. There were just 23 fatalities elsewhere.
The figures have led to calls from Tory MPs for Mr Johnson to lift the lockdown faster to give a much needed boost to the economy.
One walker who passed City Hall in central London this morning sent MailOnline a photo of the mess, saying: ‘This has been my walk to work every morning for the past week’
Meanwhile, there were similar scenes at a park in Nottingham yesterday, with boxes of beer disgorging their contents over the grass
The piles of litter were left behind by a large group of people breaking the rule of six for a large gathering yesterday
Empty beer bottles and disposable barbecues were just left strewn across a playing field in Bilton, Hull as the sun went down on the first day of the ‘rule of six’.
So what can you now do in England?
END TO STAY AT HOME MESSAGE
People will still be encouraged to stay local unless they are visiting a relative who has been isolated. The work from home message still applies
Groups of up to six people from different households or two full households will be able to meet outside, including private gardens
Outdoor facilities can reopen – such as tennis and basketball courts; golf courses; and outdoor swimming pools. Organised grassroots sports, such as football, return for children and adults
‘Exceptional circumstances’ rule is lifted for weddings.
Before March 29, Britons were only able to consider booking a wedding or civil partnership in exceptional circumstances.
This may be, for example, if you or your partner is seriously ill and not expected to recover or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.
This rule no longer applies, meaning weddings – which must be limited to six people – are open to all
Millions were able to enjoy their first real taste of freedom in months yesterday, with many taking to golf courses, swimming pools, tennis courts and gardens as the lockdown easing coincided with a mini heatwave.
In Wales, the ‘stay local’ order ended on Saturday and people are now allowed to stay in self-contained holiday accommodation. The stay home order in Scotland is to end on Friday, while in Northern Ireland up to six people, or two households regardless of size, can meet outdoors from Thursday.
At a Downing Street press conference, Mr Johnson said it was a ‘big day’ for the millions who had been unable to see friends or play sport. The Prime Minister also counselled caution and warned of an ‘uptick’ in cases as restrictions were relaxed.
A minister said the Government was taking ‘baby steps’ toward lifting the crippling lockdown.
But Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the 70-strong Covid Recovery Group of Tory MPs, said: ‘Ministers’ monomaniacal focus on Covid cases is leaving us stuck with these roadmap dates, despite the fact that the vaccine has clearly broken the link between cases, hospitalisations and deaths.
‘It is fiendishly frustrating when so many people are suffering so greatly from the restrictions.’
Rob Pitcher, chief executive of Revolution Bars, which has 70 venues, said: ‘With the data being so positive there is a real need for the timetable to be re-examined. Everything should be brought forward so that we’re getting the economy moving at the earliest, and safest, opportunity.’
Itsu food chain founder Julian Metcalfe said: ‘All the Government can do is promise the country they’ll stick to the data and the facts, and the facts say there is a lot to celebrate with the vaccine and the numbers, which are absolutely plummeting.
‘Every week makes an enormous difference to us and everybody on the high street.’
Their calls came as:
Mr Johnson announced that a further 60million vaccine doses will be produced at sites in the UK;
Forty MPs wrote to the PM urging him not to delay the ban on travel beyond May 17;
Chief medical officer Chris Whitty warned grandparents not to hug grandchildren even if they have had both doses of the vaccine;
Downing Street said the Government was ‘on track’ to continue lifting the lockdown in line with the roadmap;
Professor Whitty stressed the importance of not mixing indoors, saying the risks of transmission were ‘massively lower’ outside;
He also said care home staff had a ‘professional responsibility’ to get inoculated;
The PM refused to rule out the possibility of another lockdown this winter;
Health secretary Matt Hancock insisted ‘the door is not shut’ to families taking foreign holidays this summer;
No 10 hinted that Britain will not donate vaccines to Ireland or other EU states until all UK adults have been offered the jab.
A group of friends enjoy drinks yesterday in beautiful spring weather in St James’s Park, central London today as the rule of six was reintroduced
Two friends enjoying a drink in Potter’s Fields Park near Tower Bridge yesterday amid barmy temperatures for this time of the year
The next easing of restrictions is scheduled for April 12, when non-essential shops, hairdressers and gyms are allowed to reopen and pubs and restaurants can open outdoors.
Do you have photos of rubbish on parks and commons this morning?
But it is not until May 17, that pubs and restaurants can open to customers inside with social distancing restrictions. Hotels are also shut until then.
But Mr Johnson last night again raised fears that a third wave of the virus in Europe could make its way to the UK.
He said: ‘Historically, at least there has been a time lag and then we have had a wave ourselves. That’s why I stress the importance of everybody maintaining the discipline people have shown for so long.’
Four of the seven NHS England regions – London, the South East, South West, and East of England – recorded no deaths from the virus on Sunday. The milestone provides clear evidence of the success of the UK’s vaccination programme.
With all of the most vulnerable now immunised, the number of over-65s testing positive for Covid-19 has fallen below 200 a day. And cases among over-80s are averaging just 78 a day, after topping 3,000 in early January.
In London – once the centre of the epidemic – there were more than 200 deaths a day in mid-January. But on Sunday the capital recorded none, for only the second time this year.
Cases and hospitalisations have also plunged to their lowest levels since September, and doctors yesterday spoke of the ‘wonderful feeling’ as pressure on the NHS lifts. Just 4,560 Covid patients are in hospital, down from 39,249 in mid-January.
It means wards which were converted into intensive care beds can now go back to being used for routine care.
However Sir Patrick Vallance, chief scientific adviser, said caution was necessary as vaccines were not ‘100 per cent protective’.
He told the Downing Street press conference: ‘If the rates were much higher then obviously the amount of hospitalisation would be higher, which reinforces the point that the thing that we need to do is try and keep rates down and be sensible, as we unlock.’
Give us our Summer Hols! MPs call on Boris Johnson to allow holidays abroad
By John Stevens, Deputy Political Editor for The Daily Mail
Millions of sun-starved Britons must be allowed to enjoy a summer holiday abroad, MPs told Boris Johnson last night.
Forty MPs wrote to the Prime Minister to warn that the country would not fully recover from the ‘devastating’ pandemic without a thriving tourism, travel and aviation industry.
Holidays abroad are banned until at least May 17, but with Europe in the grip of a third wave of coronavirus infections, there are fears ministers will extend that until August.
Passengers make their way to the departure gates at Heathrow’s Terminal 2
The Government’s global travel taskforce is due to provide its recommendations in the coming days before Mr Johnson says more about the issue next week. However, even then he may not give a definitive date for when international travel can restart.
The group of cross-party MPs told the PM that foreign holidays were essential not just for holidaymakers, but for the country’s economic rebound.
They wrote to Mr Johnson to stress that it was ‘paramount that the restart of international travel provides the opportunity for businesses in the aviation, travel and tourism industries to begin their long journey back to recovery’.
‘As an island nation, we cannot fully recover from the devastating impacts of this pandemic without a thriving aviation and travel sector,’ the MPs warned. ‘As such, we urge you to introduce measures that allow the safe restart of international travel from May 17.’
The letter was signed by 40 MPs and six peers, including former Cabinet minister Karen Bradley, ex-aviation minister Paul Maynard and transport committee chairman Huw Merriman.
Crowds of people bask in the sunshine on Bournemouth beach as temperatures begin to rise across the country
The signatories called for the Government to adopt ‘a risk-based approach’ that ‘allows for travel to low-risk nations with minimal or no restrictions’, while retaining tougher measures for destinations where there are concerns about the spread of new variants.
They want rapid testing to be introduced for international arrivals and asked that quarantine periods be kept ‘as low as possible’.
‘We also urge the Government to ensure that the cost of testing is kept under review to ensure that it does not act as a disincentive to travel,’ they added.
Henry Smith, the Tory chairman of the all-party Future of Aviation Group, said: ‘We cannot begin our long road to recovery if we keep our skies shut throughout the summer months.’
The MP, whose Crawley constituency includes Gatwick airport, added: ‘The pandemic has been disastrous for our aviation, travel and tourism sectors and the consequences of a failure to build on the progress of our vaccination programme and back a risk-based reopening of international travel will be devastating, not only to the businesses involved, but their employees, their communities and the UK economy as a whole.’
Last night, Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said: ‘The UK is ahead in the vaccine race, and when coupled with the scientific advances in testing, ministers now have the tools they need to reopen travel safely on May 17.
‘This is not just about a holiday in the sun, it’s about reuniting people with family members that they haven’t seen in over a year, and unlocking valuable trading routes like the United States which for too long have been shut.’
Mr Johnson said last night: ‘The most important thing that we’ve got to do right now as we continue to immunise great numbers of people in this country is to protect our country insofar as we can… do as much as we can to prevent the virus coming back in from abroad and new variants coming in from abroad.
‘So, the rules about what you can do, what people can do, to see their families abroad will be governed entirely by the rules that cover travel abroad and people coming from abroad.
‘At the moment, as you know, it’s still forbidden to travel. We’ll be saying a bit more on April 5 about what the global travel taskforce has come up with.
Matt Hancock said he had a ‘lot of sympathy’ for the travel industry but said the ‘most important thing’ was to protect the recovery here at home
‘There are lots of countries that are on a red list, 35 countries are on a red list, where we have very stringent measures in place for them, for people arriving from those countries.’
Tourism minister Nigel Huddleston insisted ‘caution [will be] the name of the game’ when it comes to summer holidays abroad.
‘Remember, you can have a holiday in the UK as well and I encourage people to do that and plan for that as well,’ he told Sky News. But Health Secretary Matt Hancock later said the door ‘is not shut’ on foreign holidays this summer.
Mr Hancock said he had a ‘lot of sympathy’ for the travel industry, adding: ‘We all want to get that going as soon as possible, but the most important thing is to protect the recovery here at home so people can see their loved ones and don’t have to go into lockdown again.
‘We may get to a position where if you’ve had your jab, then other countries will say: ‘You’ve got to have the jab to come in.’ And so we’ll make sure everybody can do that.’
Asked if there will be foreign holidays this summer, he said: ‘There may well be, I wouldn’t rule that out.’
ONS figures show aviation has been the worst-hit service industry, with trade down 93 per cent in the past year.
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