A senior police officer who went into a coma while battling coronavirus has hit out at ‘blasé’ lockdown breakers – as a spokesman for Met Police officers branded the government’s response to the crisis ‘wishy washy’.
Yesterday saw bank holiday sunbathers flock to parks across the country to revel in the sunshine – a spectacle that will likely be repeated today as the country seemingly returns to normality despite the continuing restrictions.
West Midlands Police Chief Superintendent Phil Dolby, who spent 26 days in hospital with coronavirus and battled the deadly virus for 13 days in intensive care, criticised those who flout the government measures.
He said: ‘A month ago today, on a ventilator and in a coma, I started to breathe for myself!
‘I am [very] disturbed by the increasingly blasé way people are treating the lockdown.
‘With lack of answers around immunity, my family and I are going to remain shielding. I can’t go through that again.’
And a Metropolitan Police Federation (MPF) spokesperson said that despite its assertions to the contrary, the Government is sending out mixed messages.
MPF’s Ken Marsh told
He said: ‘It’s been quite wishy-washy how we’ve gone about it.
West Midlands Police Chief Superintendent Phil Dolby, who spent 26 days in hospital with coronavirus and battled the deadly virus for 13 days in intensive care, criticised those who flout the government measures
CS Dolby said: ‘A month ago today, on a ventilator and in a coma, I started to breathe for myself! I am [very] disturbed by the increasingly blasé way people are treating the lockdown’
Police officers in a patrol car move sunbathers on in Greenwich Park, London, May 9 as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus
Sunbathers in Greenwich Park, London yesterday. The Metropolitan Police Federation (MPF) said that, despite its assertions to the contrary, the Government is sending out mixed messages
People enjoying the sun in Burgess Park, south London on Saturdau on a crowded pathway amid a nationwide lockdown
Hackney police says it is ‘fighting a losing battle’ as hundreds of people flock to London parks, including London Fields (pictured), to eat pizza, drink wine and eat ice cream on Saturday
Families with young children queue for ice cream near Greenwich Park in London as the ice cream seller dons a face mask despite customers lining up shoulder-to-shoulder on Saturday
A man sunbathes while on the phone in Richmond Park on Saturday. Under current guidelines, only one outing for exercise is allowed a day
Two people enjoy a work out in Richmond Park, south west London on Saturday as it is expected exercise restrictions will be lifted for next week
‘Had we been very stringent from the off – it is painful, but it’s not overly painful in terms of what you’re actually being asked to do – then I think we would have a better result now.’
Mr Dolby’s post has been retweeted more than 2,000 times and prompted hundreds of replies, including one from a nurse who said they were ‘increasingly baffled, frustrated and saddened’ by some people’s lax attitudes to the virus.
A video of Mr Dolby giving an emotional thank-you speech to staff at the Royal Worcestershire Hospital attracted more than 6,000 likes after being posted on the West Midlands Police Facebook page last month.
As he made his way out of the hospital in a wheelchair, Mr Dolby became tearful as he said: ‘You’ve saved my life and I’m going back to my family.
‘That’s a gift I’ll never stop thanking you for.’
Crowds left home for their one piece of daily exercise as cyclists and walkers took to Brockwell Park in south London on Saturday
The hot weather has led the Government to issue reminders to stay at home and obey social distancing rules amid fears people could flock to parks and beaches for days out. Pictured: Canon Hill Park, Birmingham on Saturday
A group of six adults chatted and laughed as they sat out on the grass in Brockwell Park as temperatures soared
Mounted police officers greeted walkers who weren’t defying lockdown rules. Others were told to move on as police patrolled Heaton Park in Manchester
A man tries bike polo in Hyde Park. The hot weather comes as the public remain confused over the ‘stay at home’ message as exercise restrictions may be lifted for next week
Walkers took to Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham to enjoy the hot temperatures on their daily essential exercise. This couple seemed in high spirits as they walked through the park
A group left down their Santander bicycles as they greeted friends and sat in the sun in Blackheath and Greenwich park
Battersea park with lots of people out enjoying the sunshine. Sunbathing is not allowed at the moment under government lockdown rules
This family, who were having a picnic in Heaton Park, Manchester, had to pack away when mounted police officers arrived
A couple ate ice-creams while taking a break from exercise in Blackheath and Greenwich parks. People have been asked to stay home and not spend too much time in public spaces
Other revelations in lockdown Britain include:
- Boris Johnson is set to tell the British public to ‘stay alert, control the virus and save lives’ as the government drops the ‘stay at home’ message
- A bombshell report claims Chinese President Xi Jinping personally asked World Health Organization Director-General to ‘delay a global warning’ about the threat of COVID-19 in January
- Leaders of unions such as Unite, Unison and the General have written to the Prime Minister demanding policies to make workplaces safe are implemented
- Doctors claim Coronavirus complications could leave survivors with debilitating illnesses for years
A group of sunbathers in Greenwich Park, London, May 9. Health officials have said they fear Britons are starting to get complacent about the Covid-19 lockdown after traffic and mobile phone data revealed more people are on the roads and looking for directions
Runners took to the river path by Regent’s Canal as the sun shone down and temperatures soared on Saturday. The path’s width made it very difficult for people to stay apart
A woman performs yoga as others sit on the grass and enjoy the warm weather in Potters Fields Park next to Tower Bridge in the centre of the capital on Saturday
A police officer stopped to talk to three men as they prepared to exercise in Potters Fields Park next to Tower Bridge in London on Saturday
A runner in Canon Hill Park, Birmingham on Saturday. It is expected from next week that the exercise restrictions may be dropped
A lone beach-goer sat under an umbrella to shade herself from the sun in Eastbourne, southern England. All other huts on the seafront were still shut up
A group of men sat on a bench in the shade looking at their phones in Cannon Hill Park in Birmingham. One man had his coat tied around his waist as the sun shone down
Health officials have said they fear Britons are starting to get complacent about the Covid-19 lockdown after traffic and mobile phone data revealed more people are on the roads and looking for directions (pictured: A jogger in Hyde Park on Saturday)
People taking pictures of the views of the City of London from a closed off viewing area in Greenwich Park, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus
Two joggers wearing protective masks are out to enjoy the sunshine on Wimbledon Common during the bank holiday VE weekend
Under current government lockdown rules the public are allowed out once a day for exercise and sunbathing is not allowed. Pictured: people enjoying the sunshine in Hyde Park, London on Saturday
People enjoying the warm weather in Greenwich Park, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus
Police in Hyde Park on Saturday. Ministers are struggling to maintain their ‘stay at home’ Covid-19 measures as the good weather tempts people to go outside
Health officials have said they fear Britons are starting to get complacent about the Covid-19 lockdown after traffic and mobile phone data revealed more people are on the roads and looking for directions.
Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director of NHS England, said on Saturday that ‘there was a little bit of concern’ after the unseasonably warm weather drew big crowds to public spaces.
Scotland Yard sent officers on bikes to keep an eye on London’s Hyde Park, while North Yorkshire Police revealed that 50% of shutdown fines issued so far have gone to tourists visiting beauty spots in the area.
Yesterday police admitted they are ‘fighting a losing battle’ as parks and beaches were packed full of people.
Crowds gathered together in Brockwell Park, south London as adults and children sat outside in the sun despite social distancing rules asking people to stay apart on Saturday
A group stop for a break after exercising in Brockwell Park, south London, on Saturday
Crowds gathered together in Brockwell Park as even a pregnant woman, a group included in those told to shield from the virus, defies the rules to greet friends on Saturday
The path by Regent’s Canal in London was teaming with walkers, cyclists and runners as people made the most of the sunny weather to head out for their daily exercise on Saturday
A man sunbathes as police patrol on horseback in Heaton Park, Manchester, while the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus
Walkers turned to look at mounted police officers as they patrolled in Heaton Park, Manchester, while temperatures rose
A couple sit down in Queen’s Square, Bristol, as another man sits surrounded by bicycles while taking a rest from exercise
Britons were out in their droves as temperatures hit 26C (78.8F) on the South Coast, matching the temperature recorded in Treknow, in Cornwall, on Good Friday, making it hotter than Ibiza and St Tropez.
Hundreds flocked to London fields where Hackney police said they were powerless to stop those out enjoying the sun from drinking and eating pizza.
The exasperated force tweeted a picture of the packed park and said: ‘Sadly we’re fighting a losing battle in the parks today. Literally hundreds of people sitting having pizza, beers, wines. As always a big thank you to those that are observing the guidelines.’
In scenes replicated around the country, the Coastguard said that on Friday it had the highest number of call-outs since lockdown began, with 97 incidents, 54 per cent more than the average of 63 recorded for the previous month.
Traffic officers in Brighton were stopping cars at the end of the A23, which leads to the south coast seaside network, and officers fined visitors trying to visit for the bank holiday.
Cyclists enjoy the warm conditions on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace during lockdown. They took advantage of the absence of traffic to take to the centre of the road
People sun bathing in New Brighton in Merseyside as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus
Groups gathered on towels on a patch of sand at New Brighton in Merseyside. One mother tends to a baby in a stroller
Crowds gathered on the patch of grass at Potters Fields Park near Tower Bridge. While some exercised others simple sunbathed, something banned under lockdown rules
A horserider enjoys the sun as she goes for a ride through Richmond Park as temperatures rose dramatically over the bank holiday weekend
A woman in a kayak in the Regent’s canal in east London passed moored houseboats as she headed out in the sun for her daily exercise on Saturday
A father took his baby out for a walk in a stroller at Battersea Park in London as groups headed out for their daily walks. Others took a moment to chat on nearby benches
A woman used a skipping rope to exercise while a man took a break for a drink of water during an outing in Battersea Park
A family took a rest on the grass in Battersea Park as they took their dog out for their piece of daily exercise in London
People out and about in the sunshine at Bristol harbourside on Saturday as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus
Families enjoying the sunshine in Richmond Park, London on Saturday, as the temperatures soar to highs of 26C today during the coronavirus lockdown
The glorious weather came as the public remain confused by the government’s mixed messages, after they briefed to the papers that an easing of lockdown is coming and people will be allowed out to exercise more than once a day, while still insisting people must stay in this weekend.
Matt Leat, duty commander with the Coastguard, said: ‘People are ignoring the measures put into place by the Government.
‘I completely understand that the weather and the bank holiday coupled with the fact that we’ve been in this lockdown situation for just over six weeks has tempted people out to our beautiful coasts. However, as the Government said only yesterday, it’s really vital that we all continue to observe the guidance.
‘Every time we get a 999 or distress call, we will always respond but the minute we send in a rescue response, we’re putting our frontline responders at risk as well as putting the NHS under avoidable pressure.
‘Please, please continue to observe the ”Stay Home Save Lives” message – it’s still in place for a reason. Exercise locally and stretch your legs, not our resources.’
A woman rests on a blanket in Battersea park in London. She has badminton rackets and shuttlecocks with her. The Government has asked people to avoid sitting down outside during lockdown
A couple go for a job together in Victoria park in east London. Mounted police officers patrolled the area to enforce social distancing rules
People walk in the Broadway market in east London. One man wears a mask while others congregate in close proximity to each other
People are seen in Broadway Market, east London on Saturday. Some were wearing masks but due to the amount of people in the area it was impossible to maintain social distancing
People enjoying the warm weather in Greenwich Park, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus
People headed to parks across the country to enjoy the ‘hottest day of the year’ today, including crowds that headed to Battersea Park in London (pictured)
People out enjoying the sunshine on Wimbledon Common on Saturday. Under current government lockdown rules the public are allowed out once a day for exercise
Sunbathers lie down in St James’ Park in central London on Saturday despite lockdown rules forbidding sunbathing or picnic in public spaces and parks
A group of people gather underneath a tree to get out of the sun while enjoying views of the City of London from a closed off viewing area in Greenwich Park
Cyclists queue in lines at traffic lights entering Parliament Square in Westminster, London, during lockdown. The government is set to announce measures to ease lockdown
A mounted police officer asks a family, who were having a picnic, to move on in Heaton Park, Manchester. Hundreds of people were asked to leave the park after they sat down
People take a break from bicycle rides by gathering together on the grass in Primrose Park. Others stroll along paths for their one session of exercise a day on Saturday