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Public sector staff across Dorset have urged the public to stay home despite the temptation of a warmer, sunnier weekend.

Officials are worried that with the rising temperatures forecast this weekend and into next week, people might be tempted to relax the lockdown restrictions which have mostly been well-observed in the county.

But health experts warn that any relaxation of the lockdown rules now could cost lives in the face of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

‘To help save lives: stay home: only go outside for food, health reasons or work – but only if you cannot work from home. Stay home: anyone can get it, and anyone can spread it,’ said a spokesperson for Dorset Council.

‘Now more than ever, public sector staff have a vital part to play in supporting communities. They are working around the clock to keep services running and residents, including vulnerable people, safe and cared for.’

Dr Karen Kirkham, Integrated Care System Clinical Lead & Assistant Clinical Chair, NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: ‘I’m a GP in Dorset. I have a message for you from all the medical staff working around the clock to try and help you, and their message is clear. More than ever before, just please stay at home.

‘Social distancing is the one thing that will help us reduce the risk of transmission of this virus. It’s incredibly important that you do this to help us, as we go into work on a daily basis.

“Please heed the advice. Please stay at home.’

The government advice is:

  • Stay home: If you go out, you can spread it. People will die.
  • Stay home: Act like you’ve got it, anyone can spread it.
  • Stay home: Protect the NHS frontline staff working to save lives.

Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health for Dorset and BCP Councils said: ‘Our staff play a crucial role in making sure essential services are delivered and people can get the care and support they need.

‘They have done a tremendous job over the past couple of weeks, going above and beyond usual duties to make sure services are in place.

‘All we’re asking is for the general public to listen to the advice from government and stay at home.’

Officials say social distancing also means not visiting friends or family who don’t live with you.

Dorset Police Chief Constable James Vaughan said: ‘So many families across the country have already tragically lost loved ones due to this terrible virus.

‘We are all being asked to do our bit to reduce the spread of COVID-19, help the NHS and save lives.

‘I am reassured that the vast majority of our communities are adhering to the advice to stay at home and I would like to personally thank them.

‘For those who are not complying with these restrictions – please think of your loved ones, your friends, colleagues and neighbours before you act. These rules are in place simply to save lives and we owe it to one another to follow them.

‘All our emergency services staff are continuing to go to work every day to protect you – please help protect them.’

A video message from public sector staff can be found here.

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