Shoppers queue outside TK Maxx in Cardiff as lockdown eases
Traffic levels spiked and demand for public transport surged in England as people rushed back to the high for shopping and to visit pubs.
Vehicle usage was up in major cities, while Transport for London (TfL) reported increased demand for Tube and bus services.
Crowds gathered outside shops and pubs across the country as coronavirus restrictions eased to allow non-essential stores, beer gardens and outdoor restaurant dining to reopen.
Hairdressers, nail salons and indoor gyms have also welcomed customers back however social mixing indoors will continue to be heavily restricted.
A member of the governments Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M) has warned the easing of restrictions could lead to a resurgence in coronavirus infection rates while prime minister Boris Johnson urged people to behave responsibly.
Dr Mike Tildesley, reader in infectious disease modelling at the University of Warwick, told Times Radio: "It's hard to tell categorically but I think we do need to remember that with any form of reopening there's going to be more mixing, and so we might expect that that could lead to higher risk.
"We might expect it could have a resurgence, but it's really, really important therefore that people follow the rules that are in place with this relaxation.
Behind the headline review on the week in health
Matt Mathers12 April 2021 18:15
Studentsneed clarity and deserve better amid ongoing uncertainty over the full return to campus, theNational Union of Students(NUS) have said.
The bodys vice president forhigher educationsaid the sector continues to be left in the dark about plans for the summer term.
My colleague Zoe Tidman reports:
Matt Mathers12 April 2021 18:00
Coronavirus case rates for two of the four UK nations have continued to decrease in recent weeks, whereas data show that infection rates in the other two UK nations have been broadly level.
Modelling by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest that the percentage of people testing positive for Covid-19 in both Wales and and Scotland have decreased in the two weeks to 3 April.
My colleagues Chiara Giordano, Samuel Osborne and Sam Hancock report:
Matt Mathers12 April 2021 17:45
One of Britains leading imams has said he believes the the tide has turned onCovid-19 vaccine hesitancy in Black and Asian communities.
Qari Asim, senior imam of the Makkah Masjid, in Leeds, and chairman of Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board (Minab), was speaking as he urged households to resist the urge to mix as the month of Ramadan begins.
Imam Asim said: The vast majority of scholars believe that taking the vaccine in the month of Ramadan will not break the fast.
The message from Muslim religious leadership is that one should not miss the opportunity to take the vaccine when they are invited to do so.
Imam Asim added: I firmly believe the vaccine hesitancy has been reduced tremendously.
The credit goes to the community champions, religious leadership, and NHS workers.
He said: I think the tide has turned. More and more people from black and Asian ethnic minorities, including Muslims, are now taking up the vaccine.
Matt Mathers12 April 2021 17:27
Tube journeys surged on Monday as lockdown restrictions were eased, Transport for London (TfL) has said.
Between 11am and noon, demand across the Tube network was 41 per cent up compared with the same period on 6 April.
Transport and traffic levels soared across England as people were given the green light to go shopping and do other activities.
Road journeys in London at 8am took an average of 42 per cent longer compared with free-flow conditions, according to location technology firm TomTom.
That is up from 32 per cent at that time on April 6, the first working day of last week.
Other cities to experience rises over the same period included Brighton (22 to 28 per cent), Birmingham (22 to 27 per cent), Bristol (25 to 33 per cent), Manchester (27 to 37 per cent) and Leeds (23 to 51 per cent).
In London, the increase at stations serving shopping areas such as Oxford Street and Westfield Stratford City was 125 per cent, TfL said.
Demand for buses up to 10am was up 15 per cent compared with April 6.
Matt Mathers12 April 2021 17:09
Footfall at all the UK's retail destinations had risen 116 per cent by 3pm today compared to the same time a week ago, according to figures from Springboard.
Shopping centre footfall rose 176 per cent, while high street footfall rose 144 per cent, the figures show. Meanwhile, retail parks saw a 5.6 per cent drop in footfall.
Across all destinations footfall was still down 26 per cent compared to Monday 15 April, 2019. It rose 410 per cent compared to Monday 13 April, 2020 - the height of the first lockdown.
Chiara Giordano12 April 2021 16:40
A senior police officer has warned terrorists could have a "greater opportunity to operate" as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased,
Deputy assistant commissioner Matt Twist, one of Counter Terrorism Policing's senior national coordinators responsible for making sure the UK is protected from such threats, urged the public and businesses to "be alert" to more than just the dangers of Covid-19 this summer.
According to a police statement, he believes "the easing of lockdown restrictions could provide a greater opportunity for terrorists to operate".
The terrorism threat level is currently listed as "substantial", meaning an attack is likely.
Chiara Giordano12 April 2021 16:25
Pub and hospitality bosses have said they will "not get too excited" despite pouring pints for customers for the first time in more than three months.
Industry leaders have called for caution, warning the sector's recovery will take a long time, while more than half of venues remain shut due to ongoing restrictions.
Around 38 per cent of licensed premises in the UK have the outdoor space needed to reopen today, according to figures from CGA and Alix Partners.
Patrick Dardis, chief executive of Young's, said the London-based pub group is still awaiting the next dates on the government's roadmap despite reopening about 140 pubs.
"Today is just a very small step towards getting our business back to anywhere near viability," he said.
"However, let's not get too excited as we still cannot serve indoors. Even on 17 May, we will not be trading anywhere near normal."
While Roger Wade, founder and chief executive of Boxpark, said he was pleased to reopen sites but was critical of the decision to keep indoor hospitality shut but allow non-essential shops to reopen.
Chiara Giordano12 April 2021 16:10
Wales has become the first nation of the UK to give a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine to half its population.
Some 1.59 million people had received a first jab by April 11, according to figures from Public Health Wales.
This is the equivalent of 50.4 per cent of the population.
The other nations are a short way behind, with Scotland up to 48.8 per cent, England on 48.2 per cent and Northern Ireland at 43.6 per cent.
Wales was the first nation of the UK to roll out the Moderna vaccine, with the first batch given last week.
Scotland has also started using the Moderna jab, and England is due to follow later this month.
Chiara Giordano12 April 2021 16:00
Boris Johnson has joined millions of people having their hair cut for the first time in months, as coronavirus restrictions were lifted and hairdressers were permitted to open in England today.
Downing Street confirmed the prime minister had his hair trimmed this morning before joining MPs in parliament to pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh.
Mr Johnson was pictured leaving Downing Street for the House of Commons with his famous blond mop noticeably shorter.
The prime minister echoed the thoughts of the nation last month when he admitted he "badly" needed a haircut, with salons and barbers in London shut since before Christmas.
He had suggested he would prioritise a visit to the pub over a trip to the hairdressers, but the fanfare for the easing of restrictions has been muted by national mourning for Philip.
Prime minister Boris Johnson, who appears to have had a haircut on the first day of the easing of lockdown restrictions in England, leaving Number 10
Chiara Giordano12 April 2021 15:44
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