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

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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Easter 2020: The UK in lockdown
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Easter 2020: The UK in lockdown
SOUTHEND ON SEA, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: A woman sunbathes from the window above the Britannia Fish and Chip restaurant on the seafront on Good Friday on April 10, 2020 in Southend on Sea, England. Public Easter events have been cancelled across the country, with the government urging the public to respect lockdown measures by celebrating the holiday in their homes. Over 1.5 million people across the world have been infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus, with over 7,000 fatalities recorded in the United Kingdom. (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images)
LEIGH ON SEA, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: A sign warning people to stay at least two metres apart on Two Tree Island nature reserve park on April 10, 2020 in Leigh on Sea, England. Public Easter events have been cancelled across the country, with the government urging the public to respect lockdown measures by celebrating the holiday in their homes. Over 1.5 million people across the world have been infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus, with over 7,000 fatalities recorded in the United Kingdom. (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images)
On the first day of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, and at the end of the second week of lockdown restrictions by the UK government, a family use their daily exercise entitlement to spend a warm afternoon near a stencil for keeping 2 metres apart in Ruskin Park in a public green space in the borough of Lambeth, on 10th April 2020, in London, England. (Photo by Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)
SOUTHEND ON SEA, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: A deserted Southend seafront promenade which would normally be bustling with the current sunny weather on Good Friday on April 10, 2020 in Southend on Sea, England. Public Easter events have been cancelled across the country, with the government urging the public to respect lockdown measures by celebrating the holiday in their homes. Over 1.5 million people across the world have been infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus, with over 7,000 fatalities recorded in the United Kingdom. (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images)
SOUTHEND ON SEA, ENGLAND - APRIL 10: People walk past a hoarding which has been painted with the words "Well Done NHS" and hearts on Southend seafront promenade which would normally be bustling with the current sunny weather on Good Friday on April 10, 2020 in Southend on Sea, England. Public Easter events have been cancelled across the country, with the government urging the public to respect lockdown measures by celebrating the holiday in their homes. Over 1.5 million people across the world have been infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus, with over 7,000 fatalities recorded in the United Kingdom. (Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images)
Chalk writing telling people to stay away from Margate Beach is visible on an empty beach in Margate, Kent, during the Easter bank holiday weekend, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Unusually quiet north and southbound carriages on the A30 in Cornwall during the Easter bank holiday weekend, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People near the river Thames in Windsor, Berkshire, during the Easter bank holiday weekend, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People on the Long Walk at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, during the Easter bank holiday weekend, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Staff at Blair Drummond Safari Park give their meerkats rainbow coloured Easter eggs filled with enrichments. The park is closed to the public at the moment as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People walk on the Tolcarne beach in Newquay on the north coast of Cornwall, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A view of the M25 motorway near Heathrow as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Composite photo of people enjoying the hot weather at a busy Bournemouth beach, Dorset, during the Easter bank holiday weekend 20/04/19 (top), and the near deserted beach today (bottom), as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
People walk along a near deserted Bournemouth beach, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Police officers patrol the sea front in a police car on Bournemouth beach, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The M5 motorway in Worcester, Worcestershire, which is normally busy during the Easter bank holiday getaway, is quiet as the UK continues in lockdown to reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Embargoed to 0001 Saturday April 11 The Rev Peter Sutton records the Easter Sunday sermon in the Memorial chapel at the Parish Church of St Cuthbert in Edinburgh, the church has been streaming sermons as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Composite image showing an empty beach in Scarborough (top) dated date Saturday April 11, 2020 and the same scene (bottom) taken in 2019 over the Easter weekend, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A runner passes street art in appreciation of the NHS placed near to the Francis Drake Bowls Club in Hilly Fields Park, in Lewisham, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
A man jogs on New Brighton Beach near Liverpool as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
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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."

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