THESE pictures show what a difference a year can make.

One year ago there was barely any standing room on Brighton seafront.

But 12 months on, just a handful of people have been pictured at the same spot.

It comes after government advice to stay home as the UK's coronavirus lockdown continues.

The Argus:

Brighton seafront in April last year and below pictured today

The Argus:

The scenes are all the more startling given today's 18C sunshine.

>> From April 2019: Pictures from the seaside as Brighton sizzles in the sun

Only a smattering of people could be seen taking their daily exercise on the Brighton and Hove promenade shortly after midday after the city's council urged people to stay away from the area yesterday.

A Brighton and Hove City Council warned that "too many people are on the seafront making social distancing impossible" and "too many people are using the seafront to meet up with friends" in an urgent message to citizens yesterday.

Today's scenes come amid health secretary Matt Hancock blasting subathers for breaking coronavirus rules as he warned the government will ban "all forms" of outdoor exercise if a "small minority" refuse to stay at home.

The Argus:

The Health Secretary said it was "quite unbelievable" some people are still not following government guidance and stressed the plea not to go outside apart from in very specific circumstances was "not a request, it is a requirement".

A number of other countries have banned outdoor exercise in a bid to slow the spread of the disease and Mr Hancock said the government is willing to take the same action if people do not comply with existing restrictions.

He said: "My message is really clear: If you don't want us to have to take the step to ban exercise of all forms outside of your own home, then you have got to follow the rules.

The Argus:

"The vast majority of people are following the rules. Let's not have a minority spoiling it for everybody."

He warned those who are flouting the guidance: "You are putting others' lives at risk and you are putting yourself in harm's way."

Mr Hancock refused to be drawn on how long the UK would remain in lockdown, but said if people follow the rules "we will be able to make some progress".

The Health Secretary dismissed reports that he and Chancellor Rishi Sunak have different opinions about when to lift the measures.

"We're working very closely together," he said.