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'Concerning' spike in motor vehicle usage prompts warning for public to 'stay at home'

Motor vehicle usage has spiked in recent days.

A "concerning" spike in motor vehicle usage amid the Covid-19 outbreak has prompted a warning for the public to "stay at home".

While the public has been using all forms of motorised transport a lot less since coronavirus hit the UK, in recent days motor vehicle usage has "seen an uptake".

A graph released by the Department for Transport showed a significant drop on March 23, the day lockdown measures were imposed, in the use of tube services, bus services and motor vehicle usage.

But since March 29 it seems people have grown weary of staying at home, with car usage going up by around 10% in just one day.

The medical director of Public Health England branded the increase "concerning".

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She suggested the spike in vehicle usage shows some people are not strictly sticking to social distancing rules, which allow people to only leave the house for specific reasons.

Speaking at the government's daily coronavirus press conference, Dr Yvonne Doyle said transport trends show "most people" are staying at home, but she added "everyone needs to do that".

Pointing to a graph, she said: "This shows a slightly concerning trend because we have seen an uptake in motor vehicle traffic.

"So the message here really is people really 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."

A graph from the Department for Transport shown at the government's daily coronavirus update. Credit: COBR

She added: "Everyone needs to do that, the message here is we need to save lives and protect the NHS so please stay at home."

She was speaking at the Government's daily coronavirus update alongside Business Secretary Alok Sharma, who warned a "dangerous” second peak of cases could develop if the social distancing measures were lifted too early.

He said if measures were relaxed too early the "massive effort" people have already made would be "wasted and we could potentially see a dangerous second peak".

“We absolutely want to avoid that," he added.

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