A DOCTOR has warned that bustling beaches could make it difficult to fight the spread of coronavirus.

This comes as many people chose to head to the Sussex coast yesterday - the hottest day of the year so far.

Great numbers descended on Camber Sands, forcing authorities to close all car parks at the beauty spot as Sussex Police helped "manage" the situation.

Meanwhile Brighton and Hove beaches also had a large number of visitors following the loosening of lockdown rules last Wednesday.

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These now allow people to go for picnics, sunbathe and sit in public places - so long a social distancing measures are observed.

But a doctor has warned that, if people become too tightly-packed on Britain's beaches, contact tracing of coronavirus patients will become impossible.

Magazine health expert Dr Hilary Jones was shown images of busy beaches in Bournemouth, Southen and Brighton this morning.

He said: "That makes a mockery of test and trace right there, doesn't it? If you test positive for Covid-19 and a contact tracer says to you, 'Where have you been in the last few days?' and you say, 'I was on the beach in Bournemouth or Southend among those crowds,' then who do you know who was next to you?

"You can't possibly trace those people, and that's the problem isn't it?

"When people start flouting the social distancing rules and we go out of lockdown in this kind of way, you can't trace those people."

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The NHS says that contact tracing is a "tried and tested method used to slow down the spread of infectious diseases".

Health officials began contact tracing for every patient diagnosed with coronavirus after the first confirmed cases in January.

An NHS Covid-19 App is being released to try and "reduce the transmission of the virus by alerting people who may have been exposed to the infection so they can take action to protect themselves".

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But Dr Jones said that many people would not have smartphones, and others would not take their phones with them to the beach.

He is not the only one to express concerns over the Government's ongoing efforts to implement a test and tracing programme.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, has written to health secretary Matt Hancock to urge him to act.

In this message, he said: "We would therefore urge you to produce such a strategy with a clear implementation plan ahead of any further easing of the lockdown," Mr Dickson said in his letter.

He said Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan to launch the system by June 1 was "very much welcome" but said that "delivery and implementation will be critical, and we await further details".

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply. To donate visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund