A “concerning” rise in car journeys has sparked fresh warnings for people to stay at home during the coronavirus lockdown.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director of Public Health England, revealed motor vehicle usage in Britain has jumped to around a third of usual levels.
Despite a gradual drop off to 27% on Sunday, the number leaped by 10% to 37% the following day.
Bus and underground journeys in London also rose, but National Rail train usage dipped slightly compared to the latest figures.
Speaking at the daily Downing Street briefing, Dr Doyle said that while “most people” are following the rules to stay at home “everyone needs to do that” because “we need to save lives and protect the NHS” during the COVID-19 outbreak.
She also revealed a “slightly concerning” rise of new UK cases on Wednesday by 390 to 3,009.
“It’s still too early to say whether the plateau of hospital admissions has ended but we’ve now seen three days of increases in a row,” she explained.
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“We need to protect the NHS, and the best way to do that is to stay at home, to avoid catching the disease yourself and obviously avoid giving it to anyone else.”
She added that although most of the people being admitted to hospital for coronavirus are in London, the Midlands is becoming “a concern as well”, warning: “The threat is everywhere… there is no reason to be complacent.”
Globally, the UK has started pushing up towards the deaths trajectory experienced in Italy.
The latest figures announced on Wednesday said another 563 people died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus – bringing the total number of deaths to 2,352.
Coronavirus UK tracker: How many cases are in your area – updated daily
Business Secretary Alok Sharma warned a “dangerous” second peak of cases could develop if social distancing measures imposed by the government are lifted too soon.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
He also slammed banks over reports they were refusing to lend money to companies in difficulty because of the global pandemic.
Anxious business-owners have complained they aren’t getting money through the government’s Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
“It would be completely unacceptable if any banks were unfairly refusing funds to good businesses in financial difficulty,” Mr Sharma said.
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“Just as the taxpayer stepped in to help the banks back in 2008, we will work with the banks to do everything they can to repay that favour and support the businesses and people of the UK in their time of need.”
He admitted it is a “brand new scheme, and, as with all new schemes, it will not be perfect from the outset”.
SOURCE : https://news.sky.com/story/coronavirus-concerning-rise-in-car-journeys-as-people-urged-to-stay-at-home-11967066