Coronavirus has killed thousands across the country already but most people have helped to slow the spread of the virus by following the government advice of staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

However, with the long weekend upon us and highs of 20C forecast across the county, there are fears that visitors will flock to second homes in Dorset.

Cllr David Taylor has revealed that several Dorset residents have raised concerns about second home owners leaving the worst-hit cities and heading for their holiday accommodation.

He said: “People are travelling down from London and other cities to their second homes and holiday homes in Dorset.

“Roads are being watched by police but people just use their sat nav and find an alternate route.

“It’s bloody ridiculous what people are doing. They just aren’t thinking. We have been quite lucky in Dorset, the worst of the outbreak hasn’t really reached us yet but these people are bringing the infection from London to Dorset, thanks a lot.

“We have a very elderly population in Dorset and our residents are very scared about it.

“The Prime Minister has made it very clear that we should all stay at home and if you are caught going somewhere you don’t need to then there will be fines.

“It makes my blood boil, they aren’t bringing tourism they’re just bringing problems and coronavirus.”

The official government advice states: “Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays.

“People should remain in their primary residence. Not to do so puts additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk.”

Leader of Dorset Council, Cllr Spencer Flower, said: “On behalf of everyone in the council, I want to reassure residents that our strong message to any potential visitors to Dorset is don’t come now, come later when the coronavirus outbreak has passed.

“We are asking visitors not to come to Dorset and not to visit their second homes and holiday homes this Easter. We are saying to all those visitors who love Dorset so much, please follow Government guidance, please do not visit us right now. If you come to Dorset, you risk spreading the virus, endangering your own lives and those of the people who make this place so special.

“The unique coast and countryside of Dorset have been here for millions of years. They’ll still be here when the danger has passed, and we look forward to welcoming you then. In the meantime, I wish you a happy Easter and please stay home and stay safe.”