Lockdown likely to last till June

Rise in journeys ‘risks delaying fight against virus’

The scene in Edinburgh today. More people are travelling by car and bus (pic: Terry Murden)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon today said a rise in traffic on the roads in the past week risked delaying the battle against coronavirus.

Ms Sturgeon said there was evidence of more cars and a greater number of concessionary bus journeys.

Although they were from low starting points, “they are of some concern to us,” she said during her daily briefing.

Her comments came as Boris Johnson today declared the UK is “past the peak of this disease and we are on the downward slope.”

Delivering his first daily briefing since his illness, he said there are “so many reasons to be hopeful” including the prospect of a vaccine from AstraZeneca.

He said he would be setting out plans next week to “get back to work”.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson back at the rostrum: ‘we are passed the peak’

He is expected to announce that the lockdown will be extended beyond 7 May until at least June.

However, evidence of the public growing weary of the restrictions emerged as Ms Sturgeon revealed that more people were taking to the roads.

Concessionary bus travel was up by a sixth on last week, car travel by 5%, and in some towns and cities 10% higher than the week before.

Car use is up by as much as 10% in the past week. (pic: Terry Murden)

Ms Sturgeon admitted there was no breakdown on the figures. She said: “I suspect it is people going back to work, but maybe people who are fed up and just want to get out.

She said she sympathised with them, but those doing this should ask “was your journey really essential? If everyone eases off, the virus will quickly come back and it will have devastating consequences for all of us.”

Responding to further demands for the reopening of construction sites, she said she will keep the situation under review.

However, she gave no indication that Scottish building companies would be allowed to follow their counterparts south of the border who intend to resume work under UK government guidelines from next week.

The lockdown will be reviewed again by the Scottish Government on 7 May but are likely to follow Westminster’s decision for a further extension.

Ms Sturgeon noted the latest reports from Germany where new cases of the virus have arisen after the lockdown measures were eased.

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