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Five-year-old child becomes Britain's youngest victim as nation suffers worst day yet in coronavirus crisis with 708 dead including 40 with no underlying health conditions to take total to 4,313 but infections are stabilising says government expert

Five-year-old child becomes Britain's youngest victim as nation suffers worst day yet in coronavirus crisis with 708 dead including 40 with no underlying health conditions to take total to 4,313 but infections are stabilising says government expert
  • Five-year-old infant, who had underlying health issues, is the youngest victim to die with the disease in the UK
  • A further 708 people who tested positive for the coronavirus also died today in another record 24-hour spike
  • The number of new UK infections rose by 3,735 to 41,903, the smallest increase of new cases in four days
  • Michael Gove told today's No10 press briefing that Britain has taken delivery of 300 ventilators from China
  • He and NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis dismissed claims that 5G telecommunication masts were helping to spread the coronavirus as 'dangerous nonsense' and 'fake news' 
  • Prof Powis said figures suggest rate of infection was 'plateauing' but warned against 'complacency' 
  • Deaths in Scotland rose 46 to 218, Wales rose by 13 to 154, and Northern Ireland rose eight to 56 
  • Prof Neil Ferguson braced public for weeks more of high cases, but said lockdown could be relaxed in May 
A five-year-old child who had underlying health issues is the youngest victim to die with the coronavirus in Britain, as a further 708 people who tested positive for the disease also died today.
Today's record jump in fatalities brings the UK's death toll to 4,313, while the number of new UK infections rose by 3,735 to 41,903 - the smallest 24-hour increase of cases in four days.
NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis told the No10 press briefing this evening that the latest figures suggest the rate of infection had begun to 'stabilise' as the number of new cases slowed. 
But he warned that there was 'no room for complacency' and urged everyone to strictly adhere to lockdown rules, including avoiding flocking to the UK's parks and beaches this sunny weekend.
Prof Powis said: 'There is reason to be hopeful that some of the changes we are observing in infections and perhaps in hospitalisations is now reflecting the benefit of the social distancing.
'It will be a week or two before the measures that are put in place translate into lower hospitalisation rates. But... in London in the last few days there has been a bit of a plateauing in terms of numbers.' 
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove confirmed today that the Midlands has seen the biggest rise in cases at 47 percent, while Yorkshire and the North East have experienced a 35 percent rise.   
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster also revealed that Britain has taken delivery of 300 ventilators from China, while more will start being produced soon by a consortium of aerospace, engineering and F1 teams.  
'We've been buying invasive ventilators from partners abroad, including Germany and Switzerland, and today 300 new ventilators arrived from China, I'd like to thank the Chinese Government,' he said. 
Mr Gove also said that the Government is pushing manufacturing companies including Dyson and Rolls-Royce to increase the number of ventilators available for coronavirus sufferers.
He explained: 'More are coming into production in the coming weeks, subject to safety and regulatory approvals, as part of the Prime Minister's call to manufacturers to scale up production.' 
The increase in admissions is sparking fears raised earlier this month that regional hospitals could see a surge in admissions similar to that seen in London, the epidemic of the UK's coronavirus outbreak. 
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rock the country: 
  • Boris Johnson appealed to rival political parties to work together in a moment of national emergency;
  • His pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds, 31, revealed that she had spent a week in bed with coronavirus, telling scores of Twitter followers 'being pregnant with Covid-19 is obviously worrying'; 
  • Sir Keir Starmer was elected as Labour leader and accepted the Prime Minister's invitation to a Number 10 coronavirus briefing, and vowed to engage constructively with the government;
  • Cyclists were seen flocking to parks across the nation in the warm weather, despite ministers pleading with the public to stay indoors as the number of infections starts to plateau;
  • The death rate of coronavirus patients admitted to intensive care has topped 50 percent, latest figures show, while Watford General Hospital told people not to go to its A&E even for emergencies during crisis; 
  • Prof Neil Ferguson, the Government's top scientific expert, said the UK could ease some lockdown restrictions at the end of May and move to a strategy of testing and contact tracing;
  • His colleague Prof Graham Medley said the lockdown has pinned Britain 'into a corner' with no exit strategy;
  • Michael Gove dismissed claims that 5G telecommunication masts were spreading the disease as 'dangerous nonsense' while NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis called the allegations 'fake news'; 
  • The massive Nightingale Hospital in the ExCeL centre in London, one of several field hospitals to be built, opened for its first full day of operation after it was unveiled by Prince Charles via videolink yesterday;
  • Boxer Anthony Yarde's grandmother died of coronavirus just days after the disease killed his dad;
  • A member of the armed forces became the first case of coronavirus on the Falkland Islands. A spokesperson said: 'An inpatient in the hospital who is in isolation has tested positive for the Covid-19 virus'.

The NHS said hospitalisations for the coronavirus rose by 47 percent in the Midlands and 35 percent in the North today
The NHS said hospitalisations for the coronavirus rose by 47 percent in the Midlands and 35 percent in the North today 
Michael Gove revealed at today's No10 press briefing that Britain has taken delivery of 300 ventilators from China, while more will start being produced soon by a consortium of aerospace, engineering and Formula One teams
Michael Gove revealed at today's No10 press briefing that Britain has taken delivery of 300 ventilators from China, while more will start being produced soon by a consortium of aerospace, engineering and Formula One teams 
NHS England national edical director Stephen Powis told the Downing Street briefing that the latest figures suggested that new cases had begun to 'stabilise' but added that there was 'no room for complacency'



Mr Gove said 708 people died from coronavirus in Britain in the last 24 hours bringing the country's total fatalities to 4,313
Mr Gove said 708 people died from coronavirus in Britain in the last 24 hours bringing the country's total fatalities to 4,313

Boris Johnson's pregnant fiancee Carrie Symonds reveals she has been in bed for seven days with Covid-19 symptoms 

Carrie Symonds self-isolating with her dog Dilyn

Carrie Symonds self-isolating with her dog Dilyn
Carrie Symonds has coronavirus after fiancee Boris Johnson went into isolation with the deadly pathogen.
Ms Symonds posted on Twitter earlier today: 'I've spent the past week in bed with the main symptoms of Coronavirus. I haven't needed to be tested and, after seven days of rest, I feel stronger and I'm on the mend.
'Being pregnant with Covid-19 is obviously worrying.' 
Pregnant women were placed in a vulnerable group by the Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty on March 16.
It comes after fiancee Boris Johnson was forced into isolation last Friday with coronavirus symptoms.
The Prime Minister was due to exit quarantine in Downing Street yesterday, seven days after testing positive, but in a recent video message he confirmed that he continues to have a high temperature and will therefore remain in isolation.
'Although I'm feeling better, and I've done my seven days of isolation, alas I still have one of the symptoms, a minor symptom - I still have a temperature,' he said.
'So in accordance with Government advice I must continue my self-isolation until that symptom goes.'
The Midlands suffered the brunt of new fatalities with 212 deaths, compared with 127 in London. The North West had 97 while the North East and Yorkshire had 73, the East 70, the South East 41, and the South West 17. 
Coronavirus deaths in Scotland rose by 46 to 218, according to the Scottish Government. Deaths in Wales rose by 13 to 154, according to Public Health Wales, while deaths in Northern Ireland rose by eight to 56. 
Prof Neil Ferguson, whose modelling is guiding Whitehall's strategy, braced the public for 'weeks and weeks' of high case numbers - although fresh cases will start to plateau in around 10 days. In a glimmer of hope, he hinted social distancing could be relaxed by the end of May if people obey the lockdown rules. 
Mr Gove said there was 'evidence that for some young people, there has been a lower level of compliance'. compliance with the new social distancing rules varies across different demographics of the population. 
'That is why it is important that we reach them appropriately - it may be that some of the messages and some of the channels we have used have not reached some segments of the population,' he added.
'It may be that young people feel that they are less likely to be affected and less likely to be infected.
'One of the reasons we are trying to make sure our message is consistent is that for some, you may hear this message again and again and again and think the Government sounds like a broken record.
'But there will be many who won't have access to or don't have access to traditional media and we need to make sure we get the message through to them.
'The evidence is that people appreciate the ethical reasons why self-restraint can help others at a time like this, and it is because people are building up that broad social understanding.'
Mr Gove said he is confident the public will have the 'self-discipline' to maintain social distancing for as long as the shutdown is required, despite pictures today showing Britons flocking to parks and beaches.   
Ministers are begging the public to stay at home and not 'lose discipline' so the NHS does not become overwhelmed with an influx of cases.
Yesterday the UK reached a bleak milestone in its health crisis when the death tally surpassed the number reported by China, where the virus spawned last year. 
The number of new UK infections rose by 3,735 to 41,903, which is the smallest 24-hour increase of cases in four days
The number of new UK infections rose by 3,735 to 41,903, which is the smallest 24-hour increase of cases in four days  
Paramedics wearing personal protective equipment transports a patient in to The Royal London Hospital in East London

Paramedics wearing personal protective equipment transports a patient in to The Royal London Hospital in East London
Cyclists in Regents Park have ignored the Government's social distancing rules by riding in close proximity to each other
Cyclists in Regents Park have ignored the Government's social distancing rules by riding in close proximity to each other
People enjoy the sunshine on the seafront at Brighton, West Sussex, despite Boris Johnson's pleas for them to stay at home
People enjoy the sunshine on the seafront at Brighton, West Sussex, despite Boris Johnson's pleas for them to stay at home
Today 708 people who tested positive, while 3,735 new infections were reported. Yesterday there were 4,450 infections
Today 708 people who tested positive, while 3,735 new infections were reported. Yesterday there were 4,450 infections
Mr Gove also dismissed conspiracy theories linking 5G telecommunications masts to the spread of the coronavirus as dangerous fake news and completely false during the No10 press briefing.
When asked about the so-called 'theory' that 5G telecommunication masts could play a role in the spread of the illness, the Cabinet Office minister said: 'That is just nonsense, dangerous nonsense as well'. 
Prof Powis said the 5G conspiracy idea was fake news with no scientific backing that risked damaging the emergency response to the outbreak.
'The 5G story is complete and utter rubbish, it's nonsense, it's the worst kind of fake news,' he said. 
'The reality is that the mobile phone networks are absolutely critical to all of us.
'Those are also the phone networks that are used by our emergency services and our health workers and I'm absolutely outraged, absolutely disgusted that people would be taking action against the very infrastructure that we need to respond to this health emergency.'
Mobile phone masts have been vandalised in Birmingham in central England and Merseyside in northern England in recent days.
The Government is trying to squash the daily spike in cases with a strategy of social distancing. 
But the lockdown has pinned Britain 'into a corner' with no obvious exit strategy, according to a senior Downing Street scientific adviser who braced the country for a return to a policy of herd immunity. 
Prof Graham Medley, the Government's chief pandemic modeller, said the only viable path through the health emergency would be to let people become infected. This would mean they become no longer vulnerable. 
He warned the restrictions would not steer the country out of the pandemic but would bring the economy to its knees. The IMF said yesterday that the economic downturn could be greater than the 1930s Great Depression. 
Mounting unemployment, domestic violence and burgeoning mental health issues could be widespread if society remains paralysed for weeks or months on end, Prof Medley forecast.
Describing a trade-off between harming the lives of the young versus safeguarding the wellbeing of the elderly, he said the Prime Minister had a 'big decision' to make on April 13 when the lockdown will be reviewed. 
Professor Ferguson, who is also advising the government, said that he hopes the current restrictions could be eased by the end of May, but it would certainly not be 'a return to normal life'.
He said: 'I don't think anyone wants to lift measures at the current time and risk the epidemic getting worse. But if we see a rapid decline in cases, then of course the Government will consider if they can relax those measures and modify certain measures in a way which is safe and still ensures the epidemic goes down.' 
Professor Graham Medley, the Government's chief pandemic modeller, says Britain may still need to adopt herd immunity
A red London bus travels past closed-down shops on an empty Regent Street in London. Mounting unemployment, domestic violence and burgeoning mental health issues could be widespread if the normal functioning of society remains paralysed
The above chart shows that the coronavirus outbreak is worst in Italy, while the UK surpassed China in total Covid-19 deaths
  Stanley, in the Falkland Islands. A member of the Armed Forces on the Falklands has tested positive for the coronavirus
 people become resistant to a disease - through vaccination or previous exposure - that it can no longer significantly spread among the rest of the population.
The concept first entered the UK's phraseology when the Government's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance mentioned it in a broadcast interview.
Sir Patrick told the BBC on March 13: 'Our aim is to try and reduce the peak, broaden the peak, not suppress it completely; also, because the vastmjity of people get a mild illness, to build up some kind of herd immunity so more people are immune to this disease and we reduce the transmission.' 
Two days later, Health Secretary Matt Hancock clarified that herd immunity was not a Government policy. 
'Herd immunity is not a part of it. That is a scientific concept, not a goal or a strategy,' he claimed.
Prof Medley is now warning that the controversial method may be the only solution, as simply allowing people suddenly back to work or school would apparently cause a resurgence in cases of the virus.
He said an antibody test, which shows whether a person has had the virus and could be immune, could help, but that one had never before been used in the management of such an outbreak.
A professor of infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, he told the Times: 'This disease is so nasty that we had to suppress it completely.

Thirteen people die in just seven days at care home

Burlington Court Care home in Cranhill, Glasgow
Burlington Court Care home in Cranhill, Glasgow
A coronavirus outbreak at a care home in Glasgow has left 13 residents dead in just seven days.
The virus 'swept through' the 90-bed Burlington Court care home in Glasgow, with the victims' families told their deaths may be linked to covid-19.
All 13 residents who died had underlying health issues - Burlington Court cares for OAPs as well as those with epilepsy, Huntington's and Parkinson's Disease. 
The victims are not believed to have been tested for coronavirus, but Four Seasons Health Care, who manages the home, said that a further two staff were treated for covid-19.
A Four Seasons Health Care spokesperson said: 'We can confirm that 13 residents at Burlington Care Home have passed away over the past seven days.'  
'Then we've kind of painted ourselves into a corner, because then the question will be what do we do now?'
He said there was a 'big decision' to be made on April 13, when the lockdown will be reviewed. 'In broad terms are we going to continue to harm children to protect vulnerable people, or not?' he said.
Prof Medley, a member of the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), added: 'The measures to control [the disease] cause harm.
'The principal one is economic, and I don't mean to the economy generally, I mean to the incomes of people who rely on a continuous stream of money and their children, particularly the school closure aspect.'
He said there will be 'actual harms' in terms of mental health, domestic violence, child abuse and food poverty. and lockdown 'buys more time' but 'doesn't resolve anything', he said.
Responding to Prof Medley's assessment, his Sage colleague Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College told BBC Radio 4's Today: 'I wouldn't put it as bleakly as that. There is a lot of work currently so we can substitute some of the social distancing currently in place for a regime more based on intensive testing, rapid access to testing, contact tracing of contacts. 
'But in order to substitute that regime for what we're doing now we need to get case numbers down. We can't do it when we have as many people being infected as is currently happening.
'So we need to get numbers down... but I'm hopeful that in a few weeks time we can move to a regime which will not be normal life but will be more relaxed in terms of the economy but be more based on testing.' 
He added that data had revealed an 85 percent drop in social movement, and called upon scores of Britons to stay indoors this warm weekend. 
If people do continue to flout social distancing rules, public parks could be shut, according to the Telegraph.
Cyclists ride close together through Regents Park in London and parks and beaches fill up around the country despite Boris Johnson and police begging Britain to stay indoors this weekend
By Rebecca Camber and Tom Payne for the Daily Mail and Darren Boyle for MailOnline
Scores of people ignored the Prime Minister's plea yesterday to stay at home to save the NHS by congregating in groups and enjoy the weekend's good weather. 
With temperatures heading for the mid to high 60s, health chiefs were afraid people would ignore the Government's coronavirus lockdown rules, jeopardising the strategy of limiting the spread of the coronavirus. 
Officials warn the lockdown may have to be extended if people continue to ignore the advice to stay at home and only go out for essential reasons, such as grocery shopping.
In London's Regent Park, dozens of 'Middle-Aged Men in Lycra' (MAMILs) ignored the Government's Covid-19 lockdown rules to congregate in Regent's Park in London to ride their bicycles in large groups. 
Groups of men, clad in lycra, riding in close formation. Across in Paddington, keep fit fans were photographed training in a recreation ground - again ignoring social distancing rules.  
In Cambridge, groups of people lazed on the banks of the River Cam enjoying the sunshine. 
Groups of people were also spotted in Brighton, jeopardising the government's Covid-19 strategy.   
Police chiefs have warned that people breaching the coronavirus lockdown rules face being fined.
Forces plan to step up patrols in beauty spots and major routes to the coast, as officers warn 'lockdown in Easter shouldn't be much different from lockdown' on any other day.On the River Cam in Cambridge this morning people ignored government advice and enjoyed the warm spring weather
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Watford General Hospital tells patients NOT to go to A&E even in emergency because they're running out of oxygen in coronavirus crisis 

Watford General Hospital which is discouraging people from attending its A&E during the coronavirus crisis
Watford General Hospital which is discouraging people from attending its A&E during the coronavirus crisis
Watford General Hospital has told people to not attend its A&E until further notice even in an emergency as they are running out of oxygen.
West Herts hospitals tweeted: 'Please DO NOT attend Watford General's emergency department until further notice, even in an emergency. Go to your next nearest hospital with an emergency department.' 
A spokesman for the trust told MailOnline: 'As a result of a technical issue with our individual hospital's oxygen equipment, which does not pose any risk to our patients, West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust declared a critical incident on Saturday April 4 and has asked that people do not attend Watford General Hospital.'
On Friday the Minor Injuries Unit at St Albans City Hospital closed 'to allow West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust to direct clinical staff to treat its sickest patients'.
The trust said the Minor Injuries Unit had seen just ten people a day attending over the last week. 
Prof Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London has warned the predicted plateau of the virus within the next week to ten days will not happen if people continue to flout the rules. 
He said the infection rate will remain high for 'weeks and weeks' if the general public ignore the restrictions. 
CC Shaun Sawyer, from Devon and Cornwall Police, has encouraged people to stay home this weekend, telling BBC Breakfast: 'This is a national endeavour, everyone plays their part, it's the time to put others before self and we're seeing so many people across local government doing their part, the NHS of course.
'But it's actually the public, the millions of people, to put others before self to be selfless, not selfish.' 
He continued: 'When we come to enforcement, that really is a last resort because, in a way, if we come to enforcement then everybody has failed to understand the significance of this endeavour.
'It's not just visitors, even within my 4,000 square miles I've got my own population that really just want to jump in the car and travel. They want to go to the moors they want to go to the beaches.'
He described this weekend as 'a time to remember the importance of stay at home and save lives'.
'Where we are seeing gatherings on the beach we will first enquire because that gathering might be a family,' he said. 'We mustn't assume and jump to policing by judgment, we have to have a conversation. 
'We'll encourage people to go home, to separate, to isolate. But, equally, if groups really will not listen, then enforcement is a last resort.'
CC Sawyer said Devon and Cornwall's 700 miles of coastline is 'unpoliceable other than by the public themselves', adding: 'Of course, we'll focus on core areas, we're certainly looking at the arterial roads into the South West - the M4, M5, A303 and then, within the peninsular, the A30. But that is a very small workforce. 
'Devon and Cornwall police requires the public both within and outside our geography to play their part. When they do gather... we will talk, we'll converse, and, if needs be, as a last resort we'll enforce.' 
On Friday, England's chief nursing officer, Ruth May, urged people to think of two nurses who died after contracting coronavirus and 'stay home for them'.
Areema Nasreen and Aimee O'Rourke, both mothers of three children, died alongside two healthcare assistants.Cyclists, dog walkers and pedestrians were all exercising along the banks of the River Cam in Cambridge today
Exercise fans were out in force in London's Regent's Park this morning despite the Government's plea to stay at home
Mr speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference, 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 added: 'I worry that there's going to be more and I want to honour them today and recognise their service.'
Meanwhile, in his letter to opposition leaders, the PM said: 'As party leaders, we have a duty to work together at this moment of national emergency. Therefore, I would like to invite all leaders of opposition parties in Parliament to a briefing with myself, the chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser next week.
'I want to listen to your views and update you on the measures we have taken so far, such as rapidly expanding testing and providing economic support to businesses and individuals across the country.'
An officer on Brighton beach approached this couple who were having a picnic on the pebbles overlooking the sea


An officer on Brighton beach approached this couple who were having a picnic on the pebbles overlooking the sea 
An officer advised this dog walker and a group of walkers who were enjoying the sunshine this afternoon in Greenwich


An officer advised this dog walker and a group of walkers who were enjoying the sunshine this afternoon in Greenwich 
Groups of men were spotted riding through Regents Park in London today despite pleas for them to stay at home


Groups of men were spotted riding through Regents Park in London today despite pleas for them to stay at home
Tourism bosses have warned the warm weather this weekend may tempt families into flouting the rules. Petrol prices have also plummeted in recent weeks to as little as 99p a litre in some places.
Highways England said people appeared to be heeding instructions and staying clear of the road network. 
A spokesman said: 'As people follow government advice to stay at home if possible, traffic volumes and incidents appear to be reducing. Maintaining a safe road network is our priority and that's what our on-road teams, control room staff, and the people who support them, are all working hard to do.' 
Gloucestershire Police said officers would be stopping motorists who appear to be heading on holiday, such as those towing caravans. It follows concern in rural areas that second home owners will leave the city for Easter.
Yesterday, Boris Johnson said he understood 'everybody may be getting a bit stir crazy'. 
The National Police Chiefs Council has released its guidance for officers enforcing the social distancing lockdown rules


The National Police Chiefs Council has released its guidance for officers enforcing the social distancing lockdown rules 
These people were training this morning at the Paddington Recreation Ground in London, despite the restrictions


These people were training this morning at the Paddington Recreation Ground in London, despite the restrictions 
People exercising at the Paddington Recreation Ground appeared to be ignoring social distancing rules as they kept in shape


People exercising at the Paddington Recreation Ground appeared to be ignoring social distancing rules as they kept in shape
But the Prime Minister pleaded with Britons to 'stick with the guidance' to avoid an NHS meltdown. 
He said: 'I reckon a lot of people will be starting to think that this is all going on for quite a long time and would rather be getting out there, particularly if you've got kids in the household, everybody may be getting a bit stir crazy, and there may be just a temptation to get out there, hang out and start to break the regulations.
'I just urge you not to do that. Please, please stick with the guidance now.' 
Public spaces, including 'major parks', could be closed if people keep flouting the rules, according to a Government source quoted by the Daily Telegraph. The Met Office has forecast sunny spells today and tomorrow, with temperatures set to reach 20C (68F) in some parts of the country.
Large groups of NHS workers queued outside the IKEA store in Brent Park, Neasden waiting for coronavirus testing


Large groups of NHS workers queued outside the IKEA store in Brent Park, Neasden waiting for coronavirus testing 
The staff, who need a prior appointment, dive up to the tester who swabs their nose and the back of their throat


The staff, who need a prior appointment, dive up to the tester who swabs their nose and the back of their throat 
Yesterday a number of police forces announced extra high-visibility patrols. Humberside Chief Constable Lee Freeman said: 'I ask that people do not allow themselves to be tempted to become complacent.' 
Anyone caught outside without a good reason faces a £60 fine or possible arrest. Police chiefs meanwhile had encouraged Britons to snitch on neighbours suspected of flouting lockdown rules.
In France, tens of thousands of extra police have been deployed and road blocks set up for Easter. Matt Hancock declined to rule out following the French example of having police at stations checking people's movements.
The Welsh Government will introduce a law forcing all employers to make sure their workers keep 6ft apart, the first of its kind in the UK. In Germany, anyone caught standing closer than 6ft to another is being fined 500 euros.
In Bedfordshire, local police posted this photograph today of Bedford Embankment which was completely deserted


In Bedfordshire, local police posted this photograph today of Bedford Embankment which was completely deserted 
Cumbria Police have posted photographs of an empty Windermere as people in the Lake District heed the lockdown call


Cumbria Police have posted photographs of an empty Windermere as people in the Lake District heed the lockdown call

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