Britons seeking sweet relief from the heatwave are flocking to the pub in their masses despite fears packed-out watering holes create the ‘perfect storm’ for coronavirus.
As sunseekers were turned away from beaches in the south of England, northerners were seen piling into pubs in Manchester, Portsmouth and Blacksmith to party on a balmy Saturday night.
The hot run of weather looks set to persist until at least Thursday, with the Met Office forecasting temperatures to hover between the high-20s and low-30s across England and Wales.
The temperature hit 33C in London on Saturday, while Friday was the hottest August day in the UK since 2003 at 36C.
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Social distancing proved appeared to be an issue in the north as temperatures climbed, with drunken revellers pictured crowded together as they waited to get into pubs.
It comes as millions of northerners are under harsher lockdown measures than the rest of the country.
Current government guidelines ban people in Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire from mixing indoors with people from other households.
People gathering in pubs were partly blamed for a rise in Covid-19 cases in Preston, which last week became the latest city to go into local lockdown.
Respiratory sciences expert at the University of Leicester, Dr Julian W Tang, warned indoor bars and pubs were creating the ‘perfect storm’ for the spread of the virus.
Dr Tang said ‘conversational exposure’ is probably the most common method of transmitting coronavirus in the UK.
He said: ‘If the air space is poorly ventilated, that air that’s full of virus is not going to go anywhere. It’s going to linger there until the virus dries up and dies over time.’
Senior clinical lecturer at the University of Exeter, Dr Bharat Pankhania, added that people tended to speak louder in the pub, leading to more droplets leaving the mouth.
He said: ‘What do you do in the pub? Well you drink, and you have a conversation. But several conversations in a confined space equals incrementally raising your voice to be heard.’
Read more: The 29 UK towns and cities on local lockdown ‘watch list’
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