Despite being one of the worst-hit countries in the world by Covid-19 and despite a national lockdown in place, many people across UK cities have increasingly stepped out in recent days in an open violation of orders and appeals to stay at home to stay safe. Many of them have even chosen to take out their vehicles and drive around, and to rein them in is proving to be a herculean task for cops here.
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According to a report in the Daily Mail based on data from Apple Maps, there was a 4% increase in driving across the UK in the last week, as compared to the week before that. Although traffic in many parts of the country is still far less than what can be deemed normal, it is rising gradually as more and more people opt to step out of their homes. Apple Maps data further reveal that while requests for directions have come down significantly, there has been a surge in searches for maps for driving in the last few days.
Local media reports suggest that while cops are deployed to urge people to avoid taking their vehicles out and to also avoid going to crowded places, manpower is a massive problem. Another problem is that cops deployed on cycles to check on people crowding public spaces like parks are often ill-equipped to chase down vehicles.
With warm and dry weather in the UK, people have increasingly begun stepping out without much care for the pandemic. Adding to the problem are some celebrities and well-recognised figures who too have often been spotted outdoors. Some, like Aston Villa footballer Jack Grealish, even got into accidents.
While buying grocery items have meant that there is an understandable amount of rush outside supermarkets, many have been found driving without purpose or motoring towards scenic spots, parks and beaches. In a country with 153,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases, this has turned out to be a massive enforcement problem for authorities.