Londoners stop on Westminster Bridge to clap carers again - but crowds dwindle after backlash

Londoners turned out on Westminster Bridge to clap for carers again this week, but appeared to heed warnings from police about social distancing.

Footage from the London landmark shows people lining the bridge to applause for health workers, but smaller numbers of people than previous weeks.

People there were also clearly spaced two metres apart in two rows as they clapped during what has become a weekly routine for the nation.

The change comes after the Met Police warned people not to gather on Westminster Bridge to clap for carers after crowds broke social distancing measures on two consecutive weeks, sparking a backlash.

Deputy assistant commissioner Matt Twist, who is running the force’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, warned that anyone out for any other reason would be told to go home.

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He said: “As this event has gained prominence it is understandable that major landmarks, including Westminster Bridge in central London, have become focal points for those who wish to applaud.

“However, it is not acceptable for people to disregard the safety of themselves and others.”

He warned that officers would be present to “engage, explain and encourage” people to observe social distancing rules.

“Members of the public who are not away from their homes for one of the reasons outlined in the government’s emergency legislation should expect to be asked to return home,” he added.

“In keeping with our approach to these rules throughout the lockdown, officers will only enforce this legislation as a last resort.”

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