There are fears a second devastating wave of COVID-19 could be imminent as the UK’s hottest day this year saw crowds in their hundreds converge on beaches and public spaces to soak up the sun.
The temperature surged to 28.2 degrees in Suffolk, England, on Wednesday (local time), the same day the country’s coronavirus death toll rose by 363, bringing the total to 35,704.
Despite the harrowing death count, floods of people were captured mingling within close proximity of each other after England relaxed restrictions allowing them to meet with one other person for leisure.
Some took to social media with images showing large gatherings during the warm weather, with one sharing a photo from a packed Bournemouth beach on Wednesday.
British public showing none of the 'good common sense' at Bournemouth beach. Unfortunately, the council and police have no powers now. Second wave incoming surely. pic.twitter.com/cP7N5nH5EO— Kevin Anderson (@bassmankev) May 20, 2020
“British public showing none of the 'good common sense' at Bournemouth beach. Unfortunately, the council and police have no powers now. Second wave incoming surely,” they wrote.
“Bournemouth beach was fully rammed today lol just send everyone back to work, they’d literally be better socially distanced than they are now,” someone else wrote.
One person highlighted the sheer mass of people at the beach was likely equivalent to one of many large events forced to cancel due to the virus outbreak.
“How is 10,000 people on Bournemouth beach not a mass gathering? Why have organised festivals had to cancel yet Bournemouth council allow a free for all?,” they wrote.
Another shared a video showing a huge mass of people sitting on the beach utilising the oceanside walkway, as a single police officer walked through a crowd.
Hundreds more people crammed into beaches in Poole, Dorset, Margate and Brighton, with more damning images shared of sunbathers packed in like sardines at Southend on Sea.
“This is currently Southend on Sea. This is ridiculous. And I'm here, abiding by the rules, not seen my friends and family in two months. So stupid of people,” one wrote, uploading a photo of the chaos.
Similarly dangerous scenes were observed at Sydney’s Bondi Beach weeks ago before beaches were officially closed for public use, which attracted international headlines.
Bournemouth beach today 😡😡😡 get ready for the second wave guys! pic.twitter.com/DhN7AJamlw— chlo (@sush1trash) May 20, 2020
While still required to adhere to social distancing rules, it seemed this was in the back of many people’s minds as they bathed in the heat –- which is only set intensify in the coming week.
Parts of southeast Britain were expected to reach a relatively warm 26 degrees on Thursday, before possible storms and a cooler 20 degrees on Friday.
From Sunday however, the warm weather is forecast to return just in time for a public holiday on Monday when 24 degrees is forecast for London.
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