Health Secretary Matt Hancock warns Government may restrict people's freedom to exercise outdoors

He said that the vast majority of people are following the guidance

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that the Government may restrict people's freedom to exercise outdoors if it is clear that people are flouting the rules.

Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, he said: "We've said it's OK to go for exercise because both the physical and mental health benefits of getting some exercise are really important.

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"I don't want to have to take away exercise as a reason to leave home... if too many people are not following the rules.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock arrives at BBC Broadcasting House in London to appear on the Andrew Marr show. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 5, 2020. Aaron Chown/PA Wire

"At the moment the vast majority of people are (following the guidance) but people should not break the rules because that will mean that the virus spreads more and then we might have to take further action."

In his first interview since being elected as Labour Party leader, Sir Keir Starmer said he would back the government if it decided to restrict access to outdoor exercise.

He also said that the Government is on track to have ventilator capacity for 18,000 patients, however admitted that may not be in place before the expected peak of the virus.

Matt Hancock said: "We need to make sure we have more ventilators than there are people who need ventilation.

"At the moment we have between 9,000 and 10,000 ventilators within the NHS right now and we have the 2,000 spare that are critical care beds with ventilator capacity should people need to come into them and we're ramping that up.

"The answer is that our goal, instead of the 30,000, is that we need 18,000 ventilators over the coming two weeks."

Asked how many there will be in a week's time: "There should be another 1,500."

Asked if the country will be below the capacity it needs in a week's time when the virus is expected to peak, Mr Hancock said: "No, because thankfully we've got the demand down because the vast majority of people are following their social distancing guidelines."