Southwark’s council leader issued a stark warning after the borough’s number of confirmed Covid-19 cases reached the highest in London and second highest in the UK. 

As of Monday morning (March 23), 139 people had tested positive in the borough, second after Hampshire at 156.  

The council also announced it would be closing all playgrounds and cafes in parks and banning BBQs and picnics.  

Thousands of people in the UK ignored advice to stay home over the weekend, flocking to parks and public spaces. 

The National Trust has already closed its parks and garden to the public in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.  

Leader Councillor Peter John said: “Every one of our residents is important to us. You are important to us.  

“But many residents are ignoring national advice and going out when we should all be staying at home as much as we can. 

“This puts us all at risk of Covid-19, especially people who are over 70 or who suffer from ill-health.  

“We know this is a worrying time, especially if you live alone, and we really want to help.  

“There are lots of volunteers in our communities who want to help too.  

“So instead of going out, please think about other ways to do things,” he said.  

Cllr John advised calling or video calling a friend, asking someone to drop off shopping, ordering online, and while shopping only buying what is necessary.  

The council announced on Sunday (March 22) it would close playgrounds and cafes in parks across the borough.

Cllr John said: “Those playgrounds and spaces in Southwark parks which can be locked will be locked and not re-opened after tonight.  

“Park cafes will also be closed completely.  

“Stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary to go out.  

“Your choice will be the difference between life and death.”

Cllr Rebecca Lury, deputy leader, said the council was also banning picnics and BBQs in parks. 

“Help stop the spread of Covid-19 by behaving responsibly,” she said.