Pleasant Weather Prompts Warnings in Europe

London park shuts after crowds flocked there Saturday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 5, 2020 11:20 AM CDT
Pleasant Weather Prompts Warnings in Europe
People walks near the beach Saturday in Biarritz, France.   (AP Photo/Bob Edme)

As warm, sunny weather beckoned across Europe, leaders worried that people would be drawn outdoors Sunday and ignore social distancing rules. British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said sunbathing in public places was not allowed and the UK might even ban outdoor exercise if people "flout the rules,'' the AP reports. "The vast majority of people are following the public health advice, which is absolutely critical, and staying at home," Hancock told Sky TV. "But there are a small minority of people who are still not doing that—it’s quite unbelievable, frankly, to see that." A park in south London was shut overnight after authorities said more than 3,000 people—"against clear advice"—went there Saturday, "many of them sunbathing or in large groups," per the Evening Standard. Britain posted a record 24-hour jump in coronavirus deaths, 708, that even outpaced the daily toll in Italy, which had 631 deaths Saturday.

Italians have not been immune to lure of the good weather, though the country has the world's highest coronavirus death toll at more than 15,000. Officials took to national television after photos were published showing huge crowds out shopping in Naples, Rome, Genoa and even the hard-hit Veneto city of Padua. Lombardy vice governor Fabrizio Sala said cellphone data showed 38% of the region’s people were out and about — the highest figure since March 20. Health Minister Roberto Speranza told RAI state television that all the sacrifices Italians have made since the nationwide lockdown began on March 10 risked being reversed. In France, heat-seeking drones have been whizzing over Fontainebleau forest to identify rule-breakers after the former royal estate in the Paris suburbs was closed to the public. Police on horseback and roadblocks are being used to turn back the cars of those seeking to escape urban areas.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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