In what is likely to be welcome news to people across Cornwall, scientists have now told MPs that there has never been a Covid-19 outbreak linked to a beach.

It was a point of contention across Cornwall last year, with photos of busy beaches being shared on social media and many people fearing that this would only cause further spread of the coronavirus.

In other parts of the country police even had to step in and ask people to stay away, after visitors and locals headed in droves to the beaches, causing traffic jams and full car parks.

However, scientists have now told the Government that no outbreak of the virus has linked to a beach.

Lockdown rules of course currently still apply, with people told not to leave their homes except for essential reasons and daily exercise once a day. Then, people must still adhere to social distancing, staying at least two metres apart. 

According to the Press Association, Professor Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, told the Science and Technology Committee: “Over the summer we were treated to all this on the television news and pictures of crowded beaches and there was an outcry about this.

“There were no outbreaks linked to crowded beaches. There’s never been a Covid-19 outbreak linked to a beach ever anywhere in the world to the best of my knowledge.”


However, Prof Woolhouse, who is a member of the SPI-M modelling subgroup of the scientific advisory group Sage, told MPs that mass gatherings – such as a horse racing event – are an exception because they do not involve social distancing and there are “pinch points” like travel and refreshment facilities.

He is said to have also claimed the Government was slow to reopen schools and outdoor activities in the first lockdown.

“I think we probably could have considered reopening schools much sooner in the first lockdown,” he said, PA has reported.

“The other thing, quite clearly, is outdoor activities. Again, there was evidence going back to March and April that the virus is not transmitted well outdoors.

“There’s been very, very little evidence that any transmission outdoors is happening in the UK.

“Those two things, I think, could have been relaxed sooner in the first lockdown.”


It's as Cabinet members appear to be giving conflicting advice on holidays, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying he is planning a summer trip to Cornwall but the Prime Minister urged anyone wanting to book a summer holiday to be “a little bit more patient”.

The matter was touched on briefly at the last Cornwall Council Covid briefing, where advice was given about whether it was OK for holiday accommodation owners in the Duchy, who would no doubt be looking to start recouping lost earnings, to start taking advance bookings in anticipation of when lockdown ends.

It came alongside advice to anyone concerned that second homes and holiday homes might be being stayed in over this half term.


Psychologist Dr James Rubin, a member of the Government’s Sage, said the public needed to be given clear messages about holidays.

He is reported to have told the committee: “The messaging around holidays is going to be a complex one.

“I’m not sure messaging around the complexities of the epidemiology is going to be helpful in a public-facing messaging campaign.

“I think what’s really needed is simply clearer guidance as to what expectations are and aren’t."