After we had all seen what was happening in Italy and Spain, it was hard to believe that people were not aware of how serious coronavirus can be.

Countries with advanced healthcare systems have seen hospitals overwhelmed by the number of cases.

Doctors in Italy have had to make the choice of which patients to prioritise as they do not have enough life-saving ventilators.

We have known for weeks that coronavirus spreads silently - that it can be days before people show symptoms and that some may show none at all.

For the latest coronavirus updates in Watford and Hertfordshire, follow our live blog here

Yet this week, after repeated warnings, people have still been going to parks to play games together and - unbelievably - queueing for ice cream.

Watford's mayor contacted us this week to voice his alarm that people are not heeding the Government's advice.

Read more: ‘More people will die’, mayor warns if Watford teens keep ignoring advice to stay home

Perhaps people think they are likely to survive. But there cannot be a family in Watford that does not have somebody who is elderly, asthmatic, has a heart condition or diabetes. Somebody recovering from cancer or an operation.

Those who are young may not even notice the illness, but they may find themselves mourning a loved one we all could have helped save.

It's time to take this seriously. It's time to stay in and save lives.