Britain warns of tougher social distancing measures Apr 06, 2020 0 1018 12345 AFPLONDONTHE British government on Sunday warned that outside exercise could be banned if people flout stringent guidelines to cut the spread of coronavirus infections.The UK government on March 23 ordered a three-week shutdown of non-essential shops and services to cut close-contact transmission of the virus.But warmer weekend weather has stoked fears that people could congregate in parks and open spaces, potentially threatening any gains made in cutting transmission rates.A major south London park was closed on Sunday after concern about high numbers of sunbathers on Saturday.Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who himself tested positive for COVID-19, told Sky News television that sunbathing was “against the rules” and anyone doing so put lives at risk.He told the BBC most people were following guidance only to leave their homes to shop for essential supplies and medicine, and to exercise once a day. But he said it was “quite unbelievable” that a minority were not.“The truth is the more people go out from home, the more the virus spreads,” he added.“I don’t want to have to take away exercise as a reason to leave home because people are not following the rules...“If the result of that is that too many people go out and flout the rules I’m afraid we’ll have to take action.” Hancock later told a daily government briefing changes to social distancing rules were “not imminent”.Meanwhile in Scotland, the country’s chief medical officer apologised for ignoring her own advice about non-essential travel.Police said they warned Catherine Calderwood for twice visiting her family’s second home more than an hour from Edinburgh after photographs were published in a newspaper.Chief constable Iain Livingstone of Police Scotland said officers “spoke to her about her action, reiterated crucial advice and issued a warning about her future conduct”.Calderwood, who fronts a public advertising campaign urging Scots to stay at home, told a news conference: “What I did was wrong. I’m very sorry. It will not happen again.” She added: “This was a mistake. Human error. And there’s no excuses. I should not have done what I did.” Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said people’s criticism and anger was justified, and she was right to apologise. But she backed her to remain rather than resign.“She should not have got this wrong... But I need to have the best possible expertise... if we are to steer the best course through this,” she added.The developments came as Britain reported 621 more deaths as of 1600 GMT on Saturday, taking the total toll to 4,934.The toll -- down from a record day-on-day high of 708 as of Friday, after a week of steady increases -- includes a five-year-old child and seven healthcare workers. RELATED ARTICLES Pope livestreams Palm Sunday mass due to virus ‘tragedy’ Apr 06, 2020 0 153 Spanish premier in plea for ‘coronabonds’ crisis funding Apr 06, 2020 0 146 Man spits at woman in German supermarket in row over distancing Apr 06, 2020 0 152 Coronavirus hospital blaze near Moscow kills construction worker MOSCOW: A fire at a construction site for a coronavirus treatment hospital near Moscow has killed one worker, state news agency Tass reported on Sunday, citing civil protection officials. The fire broke out at a .. Pentagon chief defends firing of navy captain who voiced virus concern AFP WASHINGTON US Defence Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday defended the firing of a naval commander whose plea for help for a coronavirus-affected crew angered his superiors but drew widespread public support. Esper told .. Democratic convention may be ‘virtual’: Biden WASHINGTON: White House hopeful Joe Biden said on Sunday he would wear a mask in public amid the coronavirus pandemic and that the Democratic Party’s presidential nominating convention might need to be “virtual” to .. Republican convention to go ahead in August: Trump WASHINGTON: Republicans will hold their presidential nominating convention in August in Charlotte, North Carolina, US President Donald Trump said on Saturday evening, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that .. Italy records lowest virus death toll in over two weeks AFP Rome ITALY on Sunday recorded its lowest daily death toll from the novel coronavirus in over two weeks and saw the number of critical care patients decline for the second day. The 525 official COVID-19 fatalities ..