By Ned Simons
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England’s chief nursing officer has pleaded with the British public not to risk causing the deaths of more NHS workers by ignoring advice to stay at home over the the weekend.
Speaking at Friday’s Downing Street press conference, Ruth May asked people to resist the “summer rays”.
It is forecast to be as high as 20C in some parts of the UK on Sunday, including London which has been heavily hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
The Department of Health and Social Care confirmed today 684 more people have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus, bringing the total deaths in the UK to 3,605 as of 5pm on Thursday.
May said: “This weekend is going to be very warm and it will be very tempting to go out and enjoy those summer rays.
“But, please, I ask you to remember Aimee and Areema. Please stay at home for them.”
She expressed her condolences to their families, friends and colleagues – and said she feared further nurses would die.
“They were one of us, they were one of my profession, of the NHS family. I worry that there’s going to be more and I want to honour them today and recognise their service, ” she said.
Speaking alongside May, Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said the country “cannot relax our discipline now”.
“If we do, people will die,” he added. “This advice is not a request. It is an instruction.”
Hancock said: “We are are set for a warm weekend in some parts of the country. But the disease is still spreading and we absolutely cannot afford to relax the social distancing measures that we have in place.”
Earlier today Boris Johnson also warned people it was “crucial” to maintain social distancing this weekend despite “what may be some fine weather”.