Britain urged people to stay at home on Monday after many parks, beaches, and other scenic areas were busy over the weekend in spite of government efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus.
“Stay at home if at all possible to protect our NHS (health service) in our national effort to fight coronavirus,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted.
Hancock told the BBC that the government was prepared to take tougher measures if the public and businesses did not comply with policies to maintain social distancing.
Britain’s latest advice, updated on Monday, tells people they can go for a walk or exercise outdoors if they remain at least 2 metres from other people.
Asked by the broadcaster if the government could impose a lockdown, as many EU countries have done, Hancock said: “Nothing is off the table.
“Of course we are looking at what other European countries are doing.”
Britain has closed schools and encouraged people to work at home and avoid public transport.
It has also ordered pubs, cafes, restaurants, and entertainment venues to suspend most businesses, but it has allowed them to offer takeaway services.
Cornwall in England, Snowdonia in Wales, and the Scottish Highlands all reported weekend surges in visitors.
Scotland’s tourism minister, Fergus Ewing said he was “furious at the reckless and irresponsible behaviour” of some visitors.
“This has to stop now.
“People should not be travelling to rural and island communities, full stop. They are endangering lives,” Ewing said in a statement late Saturday.