POLICE have urged the public to follow the government advice by staying at home in the run up to the Easter holiday period to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The UK has been in lockdown for nearly two weeks. With warmer weather forecast for this weekend and the run up to the Easter holiday would usually mean a chance to catch up with family and friends and spend time outside in the countryside and parks across the three counties.

However, police have urged that plans this Easter must change, as everyone is adjusting to the new measures put in place to help keep everyone safe during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Anthony Bangham, chief constable for West Mercia, said: “It is a time to be sensible, unselfish, to apply common sense and to do the right thing not only for ourselves, but our friends, family, wider communities and indeed the country as a whole.

“I want to thank all of our communities for their help, support and patience. The majority of people have been staying at home, taking sensible steps to ensure they are observing social distancing and demonstrating fantastic community spirit in looking after friends, family and neighbours.

“I want this to continue over the weekend and during the coming weeks so I urge everyone to follow the government advice; stay at home to prevent the spread of infection.”

He added: “We understand the importance of exercise and fresh air, not only for our physical health but also for good mental health, which is vital in these challenging and anxious times.

“If you are fortunate enough to have a garden or to live in an area where you can walk, run or cycle from your own home, please do so and stay local rather than travel to exercise. Travel really should only be for essential purposes.

“However, we appreciate this is more challenging for many people. If you live in a populated area, where it is difficult to find quieter places to walk and exercise at a distance, then it may well be sensible for you to travel slightly further than your immediate neighbourhood. However, please don’t go to busy places at peak times to exercise. If you go somewhere and it is busy, please use common sense and leave. Go somewhere else or come back at another time.”

The police will continue to be out to provide reassurance and engage with the public.

He added: “We will be dispersing any gatherings of more than two people if required. Please do not put us in this position. Should we have to, then we will take enforcement action to keep people safe if it is absolutely necessary and proportionate. It isn’t our preference so by working together we can avoid this wherever possible.”