MATT Hancock issued a stern warning to the "minority" of Britons flouting the law as he insisted sunbathing is "against the rules" set out to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Health Secretary insisted people are allowed to go outside only if they meet the requirements set in the Coronavirus Bill.

Asked whether sunbathing could be considered part of an essential outing, the Health Secretary told Sky News said: "We are absolutely clear you should not leave your home unless it's for one of four reasons.

"For medical reasons, to buy food, to go to work if you can't work at home or for exercise.

"Of course I understand how difficult this is but the problem when you go out is not only that you may interact directly with somebody closer than two metres.

"It's also that you can spread the virus through touching something which somebody else then touches or pick it up that way."

He continued: 'We're crystal clear in the guidance of what people should and shouldn't do. That guidance is backed up in law.

'It's not a request, it's a requirement in law and people need to follow it.

"I just say this to the small minority of people who are choosing to flout the guidance, you are putting the lives of others at risk."