Matt Hancock coronavirus warning: Britons told to stay at home ‘It’s not a request!’ | UK | News

Matt Hancock instructed Britons to stick to the social distancing guidelines this weekend and reminded the public the UK is still on lockdown as the death toll continues to rise. The Health Secretary warned people will die if the public relax. It comes as the Department of Health confirmed 684 more people have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing the total deaths in the UK to 3,605 as of 5pm on Thursday.

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Speaking at Downing Street, Mr Hancock said: “We’re set for a warm weekend in some parts of the country but the disease is still spreading.

“We absolutely cannot afford to relax the social distancing measures that we have in place.

“We cannot relax our discipline now.

“If we do, people will die.

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“This advice is not a request, it is an instruction. Stay at home. Protect lives and then you will be doing your part.”

Mr Hancock went on to explain the UK has more than 2,000 critical care beds still free for use in the fight against COVID-19.

The Nightingale Hospital, a new hospital in London erected in a conference centre to provide thousands of extra beds for patients with the coronavirus, opened on Friday.

He said: “Since the start of this crisis we’ve boosted the number of critical care beds to care for coronavirus by over 2,500. That’s before the addition we’ll get from the Nightingale hospitals.

In the daily Downing Street press conference, Ms May said: “This weekend is going to be very warm and it will be very tempting to go out and enjoy those summer rays.

“But please, I ask to remember Aimee and Areema. Please stay at home for them.”

Ms May expressed her condolences to their families, friends and colleagues and said she feared further nurses will die.

She said: “They were one of us, they were one of my profession, of the NHS family. I worry that there’s going to be more and I want to honour them today and recognise their service.”

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