CLEAR instructions have been issued after a day in which thousands descended on coastal towns, beaches and countryside despite repeated warnings to keep apart.

On Sunday, a series of clear statements were made by Brighton City Council, who urged people to avoid public places to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

In a swift and no-nonsense reaction to a day in which people went in droves to places like Brighton and Hove seafront, Devil’s Dyke, Stanmer Park and the Marina, the following message was issued.

Councillor Clare Moonan, Chair of the Heath & Wellbeing Board at Brighton council, said: “It’s been an incredibly tough and difficult week for everyone, and I want to thank people for the changes they’ve already made to their everyday lives to cut down contact with other people.


“A fortnight ago most of us had probably never heard of ‘social distancing’ but now it’s a top priority and it is vital that we do much more do cut down our social contact.

“How we all behave in these next few days and weeks will help protect the lives of our loved ones in the end.

“We’re a city that loves socialising, but right now we have to put that on hold. That means not nipping out to the pub, not eating out, not going to clubs, and avoiding gatherings with family and friends.

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“It even means not having that much loved cup of coffee with friends. It also means not exercising as part of a group – even in a public place.

“It’s a hard message to deliver in such a vibrant city as Brighton & Hove, particularly with such a renowned and hardworking hospitality industry, but it is crucial that we take it seriously to prevent the spread of the virus and protect our whole community, especially the elderly and vulnerable.

“We also all need to follow the government’s advice and work from home wherever possible - and we know local employers are being supportive of this - and avoid using public transport unless it is essential.

“If you do have to use public transport, please vary your travel times to avoid rush hour wherever possible.

“It’s still okay to go out and get fresh air and exercise – but keeping a safe distance more than two metres from other people. And if you have a garden, it’s a good idea to get outside and enjoy it.

“Losing this face-to-face contact with other people is isolating, and it’s more important than ever that we look out for each other, keep in touch by phone and online, share our concerns and frustrations and talk to each other about how we are feeling.

“There are ideas and information for exercising at home on the on the NHS website along with advice and support for looking after your mental wellbeing.”

The message was issued after hundreds of people were seen queueing outside supermarkets across Sussex as panic-buying continued.

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Nearly 5,000 people have now died in Italy from coronavirus - 3,000 of them are in one region.

In a message to the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this of the situation in the UK: “The numbers are very stark, and they are accelerating.

“The Italians have a superb health care system. And yet their doctors and nurses have been completely overwhelmed by the demand.”

Despite advice having been issued for the last several days for all people to practice social distancing, and for vulnerable people to isolate, large numbers of people travelled to tourist spots in Brighton for days out on Saturday, though the city centre was deserted.

And despite an angry reaction to pictures showing these crowds, people were at Hove seafront again on Sunday.

Elsewhere, West Wittering beach was closed after people flocked to the beach on Saturday.