SOMERSET'S director of public health has issued a personal plea for people to stay at home this Easter – and not be tempted to visit family.

Dr Trudi Grant is reminding people that staying home will save lives and protect the NHS during the COVID-19 outbreak.

On the question of visiting family, she said there was a difference between a “household” and wider family.

She said: "It's important to differentiate between households and family.

"From an infection control point of view we are interested in households – that is the people who live together, share bathrooms and things like that.

"You shouldn’t visit anybody outside of your household and if anyone in the household develops the virus, the whole household has to self-isolate for 14 days."

She added that people need to understand they may be carrying the virus and not even know it, which is why social distancing (at least two metres) is so important.

Dr Grant said people must stay at home to protect the NHS and to save lives.

She added: "I can’t stress this strongly enough. The actions that we all as individuals take now, will save lives."

She said people should not be tempted to visit beauty spots or beaches over the Easter weekend, even though the weather may make that tempting.

Somerset’s beaches and moorlands will, she said, still be here when the virus is long gone.