Queen Elizabeth invokes spirit of second World War in speech

UK coronavirus death toll reaches 4934 with 621 new deaths reported on Sunday

Queen Elizabeth invokes the spirit of the second World War in a televised address to the British people, urging them to unite and cooperate in the face of coronavirus. Video: BBC

 

Queen Elizabeth has invoked the spirit of the second World War in a televised address to the British people, urging them to unite and cooperate in the face of coronavirus. Acknowledging the hardship felt by many during the current crisis, she recalled her first broadcast in 1940 with her sister Princess Margaret.

“We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety. Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do,” she said.

“While we have faced challenges before, this one is different. This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavour, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal. We will succeed - and that success will belong to every one of us.”

Earlier, health secretary Matt Hancock backed away from a threat to ban exercise outside the home if too many people ignored the rules on social distancing. After one London park said it would remain closed on Sunday because thousands of people were ignoring the rules by sunbathing and having barbeques, Mr Hancock suggested that further restrictions might be necessary.

Backlash

But after a backlash amid fears that people with no gardens or other outside space would be hit hard by such restrictions, the health secretary told a press briefing in Downing Street that he was not planning new measures.

“We’ve included exercise as one of the things you can leave your house to dobecause exercise is good for our physical and mental health but please do not bend or break this rule. We can’t rule out further steps but I don’t want anyone to think that any changes to the social distancing rules are imminent because the vast majority are following the rules,” he said.

“I say this to the small minority who are breaking the rules or pushing the boundaries: you are risking your own life and the lives of others and you are making it harder for us all.”

Britain’s death toll from the coronavirus has reached 4934, with 621 new deaths reported on Sunday. Hospital admissions for the virus have risen across the country with a sharp rise in London.

Withdrawn

Scotland’s chief medical officer has withdrawn from the public information campaign about the coronavirus after visiting her second home twice during the lockdown. Catherine Calderwood apologised during a televised press conference with Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon and she received a police warning after ignoring the advice she was giving in public information announcements.

Ms Sturgeon said that Dr Calderwood had offered her resignation but that she had rejected it because the chief medical officer’s advice and expertise was invaluable during the pandemic.

“I did not follow advice I am giving to others. I am truly sorry for that. What I did was wrong. I am very sorry. It will not happen again. I realise how important the advice is that I have issued, I do not want my mistake to distract from that,” Dr Calderwood said.