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Coronavirus Kent: Rosie Duffield MP urges Londoners in second homes in Whitstable to stay indoors

An MP is pleading with Londoners living at their second homes in Kent to stay indoors and stop spreading "really deadly" germs to vulnerable constituents.

It comes after pictures and videos were posted on social media of crowds of people packing out Whitstable seafront in defiance of government advice to stay at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Crowds in Whitstable. Picture: Alison Dilnutt
Crowds in Whitstable. Picture: Alison Dilnutt

The government has warned people to stay in their "primary residence" throughout the outbreak and to not go to second homes or holiday premises, adding that "not taking these steps puts additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk."

Rosie Duffield, MP for Canterbury and Whitstable, has backed these calls and says it is "common sense" for people to not go out.

"I am so disappointed to have seen more footage that people are sharing with me from Whitstable, where the beaches are again crowded, lines of people standing close together queueing up for a coffee or some takeaway sea food," she said.

"Please stop it, especially if you moved down from London to stay in your holiday home. I've got vulnerable constituents and I do not want them subjected to the germs that are really deadly to people over 70.

MP Rosie Duffield reacts to Whitstable crowds amid the coronavirus crisis.

"You do not need to go out. The government have advised that we go out in emergencies only.

"Getting a coffee and walking around the beach is not an emergency. If you need fresh air and exercise, chose a place which is not overcrowded.

"Follow the government advice, it is everywhere. This is common sense. Please stay at home.

"It is vital that people observe social distancing and only leave the house when it is absolutely necessary.

"I would also like to strongly discourage any 2nd home owners or tourists from coming to Whitstable during this crisis. Our hospitals here in east Kent are overstretched at the best of times, with only eight beds in Kent and Canterbury’s ICU; our infrastructure cannot cope with an influx of people during a national health crisis."

The Prime Minister warned further restrictions could be put on people's movements unless they obey the safety advice issued amid the coronavirus outbreak.

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