THE British public has emerged from its enforced hibernation to push strict lockdown rules to their limit this weekend.
People were hitting the roads again yesterdayas new data shows traffic congestion has surged from the start of the month and since the lockdown was announced.
Walking in Brighton has picked up markedly in the last three days alone, according to Apple Map’s most recent ‘Covid-19 mobility trends’ data.
It appears there has been a sharp increase in human traffic as the number of people walking across the country rose by around 8 percentage points on April 23 from last Saturday.
The number of people walking, driving, and using public transport networks in the UK took a nosedive in early March, as concern about the spreading coronavirus outside of China – believed to be the country of its origin – intensified and gripped the nation.
It plummeted on March 24 – the day after Boris Johnson declared a “stay-at-home” order.
But newly released figures available on Apple Maps indicates the British public are growing restless of life under lockdown as many more take to the roads and the streets.
Each weekend of April – between the 4th and the 18th – the number of people walking, driving, and “transiting” steadily climbed, even as police forces across the country became tougher on rule-breakers.
Data from sat nav makers TomTom and the AA suggest there has been an increase in car trips around the UK this month.
There are more motorists in London, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Manchester, and Reading out and about today than last week, according to TomTom.
Meanwhile, pictures showed busy scenes at B&Q stores and parks, as fears of the harm done to the economy have caused businesses able to practice social distancing to open their doors to customers.
The new statistics emerge as former Chancellor Philip Hammond called on the Government to publish an exit strategy and restart the economy, urging MPs to face the “reality” that the UK must get back to work.
In a stark message this morning, he warned the economy “will not survive” and said the country could not afford to wait until a vaccine had become available before resuming more normal economic activity.
With Boris Johnson expected to return to Downing Street next week after recuperating from the virus, Mr Hammond said he hoped it would mark a “clear step change” in the Government’s response to the crisis.
Priti Patel today issued a rallying cry for Britons to “stay strong” as she admitted the country was “not out of the woods” in its fight against coronavirus.
In the daily address to the nation, the Home Secretary said it was not time to lift the lockdown as the country entered its fifth weekend with restrictions.
Cars queuing for the COVID 19 drive-in testing centre in Brighton & Hove Albion’s American Express Community Stadium
She warned: “Our instruction remains clear, people should stay at home, protect the NHS (National Health Service) and save lives.
“We know that people are frustrated but we are not out of danger. It is imperative that we continue to follow the rules.”
This comes as it was revealed ministers are looking at whether to relax the strict “stay at home” advice to let small groups of households “cluster” together.
It would allow a “bubble” of up to ten close family members to meet for meals, or enable friends to share childcare. It could also allow couples who do not live together to see each other.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been looking at how to start allowing non-essential businesses to reopen in a “safe and practical way”, keeping coronavirus out of shared office spaces.
- The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. org.uk/apply. To donate visit www.totalgiving.co.uk/appeal/sussexcrisisfund