Road traffic INCREASES despite the UK's coronavirus lockdown

Get off the road! Health chiefs warn the public to stay at home after ‘concerning’ INCREASE in road traffic despite lock-down and police efforts to stop unnecessary journeys

  • Official figures show that there has been a sharp up-swell in recent days 
  • There have been signs of heavy traffic remaining in some cities like London
  • Prof Yvonne Doyle: ‘The message here really is people do need to stay at home’ 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

Britons were reminded to stay off the road unless absolutely necessary today after figures showed that traffic levels have gone up in the last few days.

Department for Traffic figures show that there has been a sharp up-swell since the start of the week, despite rules telling the public to remain at home as much as possible.

It is unclear what is driving the spike, but there have been signs of heavy traffic remaining in some cities like London, despite pleas for people to stay at home.

At the daily coronavirus press conference today, Yvonne Doyle, director of health protection for Public Health England, said: ‘(It’s a) slightly concerning trend, because we have seen an uptick in motor vehicle traffic.

‘The message here really is people do need to stay at home, and most are doing the right thing as you can see from the rapid decline in public transport use.

Photographs this morning showed heavy traffic on a main road in Wapping, East London, heading into the capital during rush hour despite the UK being in lockdown

At the daily coronavirus press conference today, Yvonne Doyle, director of health protection for Public Health England, said: ‘(It’s a) slightly concerning trend, because we have seen an uptick in motor vehicle traffic

‘So everyone needs to do that, the message here is: we need to save lives and to protect the NHS. So please stay at home.’ 

Photographs this morning showed heavy traffic on a main road in Wapping, East London, heading into the capital during rush hour despite the UK being in lockdown. 

London has higher traffic levels than other major European capitals – indicating that motorists are still making unnecessary journeys despite the coronavirus lockdown. 

Drivers in the UK capital are not leaving the roads as quickly as their counterparts in other European capitals – and traffic levels are higher than in New York, figures show.

The analysis found that 20 per cent of London’s roads were congested on average between Monday to Friday last week, against the usual figure of 40 per cent.

The number of vehicles on the roads in the capital and across Britain dropped sharply last month as people follow Government guidelines to stop non-essential journeys.

The reduction is also reflective of advice to work from home along with the closure of schools, pubs, restaurants, theatres, gyms and most shops over the past fortnight.

But traffic in London has not fallen as fast as in Paris, New York and Madrid where congestion was down from the usual 40 per cent to about 5 per cent last week. 

In London the figure is only down to 20 per cent, according to research conducted by the Financial Times using figures Netherlands-based traffic data firm TomTom. 

Business Secretary Alok Sharma warned a ‘dangerous’ second peak of cases could develop if the social distancing measures imposed by the Government were lifted too early

At the press conference Business Secretary Alok Sharma warned a ‘dangerous’ second peak of cases could develop if the social distancing measures imposed by the Government were lifted too early.

He said: ‘People will understand across the country why we have put these restrictions in place and the Prime Minister was very clear they were for an initial three-week period and we would review them.

‘But what’s also really important is that if we stop these too quickly, there is a possibility that that massive effort people have made across the country is wasted and we could potentially see a dangerous second peak.

‘We absolutely want to avoid that.’

Prof Doyle added: ‘I think it is important to say we are looking at this through the scientific lens, as well as through modelling and through the information we are getting through clinical cases as to how this epidemic is progressing.

‘We will be guided by that. We obviously want to make the right call at the right time on this and it is something that we have to keep reviewing every week.’

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