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UK coronavirus: public urged to observe lockdown despite weekend sunshine – the guardian, theguardian.com

The public has been urged to stay at home, as forecasters predict warm and sunny weather across most of the country for the UK’s fifth weekend under lockdown.

The long spell of high temperatures is prompting concerns that people may defy lockdown rules, which came into force on 25 March.

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, urged people on Friday to continue to adhere to the restrictions despite some encouraging signs that the coronavirus crisis is beginning to ease.

“The country has done incredibly well in adhering to social distancing and there is a danger as we go into yet another warm sunny weekend that people think that perhaps these graphs are showing that the peak is over,” he said.

“It isn’t over, we’re riding perhaps, we hope, a downward trend but it is by no means, no means established yet.”

Philip Hammond, however, called on the government to begin easing the lockdown and restart the economy.

“The reality is that we have to start reopening the economy. But we have to do it living with Covid, ”the former chancellor told the BBC Radio 4 Today program on Saturday.

“We can’t wait until a vaccine is developed, produced in sufficient quantity and rolled out across the population. The economy won’t survive that long, ”he said.

New data suggests the onset of lockdown fatigue in Britain . The use of transport increased by between 2% and 3% over the past week.

The public has been instructed to stay at home, but the restrictions allow daily outdoor exercise and essential journeys for supplies and work.

Government figures published on Wednesday also showed UK vehicle traffic levels at their highest since the lockdown began.

The home secretary, Priti Patel, has not ruled out granting police additional powers to enforce lockdown measures, the Daily Express reported.

Calls for the government to announce details of an exit strategy have intensified over the past week, and Shapps said any easing of restrictions would depend to some extent on people’s behavior.

“When people ask me when will the measures, the social distancing, the stay-at-home measures, be altered, my answer in some ways is that some of this lies in your own hands,” he said.

“The more we adhere to it and are strict about the social distancing that is required, the faster that decision will be able to be made.”

A police and crime commissioner had previously said “isolation fatigue” could set in and pose a genuine threat to the lockdown , predicting that public frustration would increase after Easter.

The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, said in a BBC interview on Friday that “the exemplary behavior of a vast majority of Londoners” who were following physical distancing guidelines had caused a 90% drop in Transport for London fares, which means a quarter of TfL staff will need to be furlored from Monday.

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