Revealed: How closely Edinburgh residents are sticking to lockdown restrictions

A view of Frederick Street during the coronavirus pandemic on April 17. Picture: GettyA view of Frederick Street during the coronavirus pandemic on April 17. Picture: Getty
A view of Frederick Street during the coronavirus pandemic on April 17. Picture: Getty
Tech giants Google uses location data from phones to track people’s movements

Edinburgh residents have continued to successfully shun most shops under lockdown, Google data shows – but are still lingering in groceries and pharmacies.

The latest weekly Google report shows a second successive rise in shopping visits across the UK, after First Secretary Dominic Raab warned any change to social distancing rules would risk a second peak of the coronavirus.

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The tech giant uses location data from phones and other personal devices to track trends in people's movement in the home, retail and recreation establishments, grocery stores and pharmacies, public transport hubs, and parks and green spaces.

The third of its reports, which charts the six weeks up to April 11, shows retail in Edinburgh has seen the biggest drop-off in activity across the five non-residential categories – 86 per cent below normal levels.

This is a bigger drop than the UK average, with footfall down 81 per cent.

But when it comes to grocery stores and pharmacies, footfall in Edinburgh has now only fallen by 34 per cent.

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That was the second consecutive increase in the use of grocery stores and pharmacies in the area – the previous week it stood at 42 per cent below usual levels, following an initial drop of 44 per cent.

All three reports are compared against a five-week period between January 3 and February 6, to establish a normal baseline.

Dominic Raab, continuing to stand in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said the UK has not reduced the rate of infection of Covid-19 enough to allow strict measures to be lifted.

He said: "The very clear advice we have received is that any change to our social distancing measures now would risk a significant increase in the spread of the virus.

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"That would threaten a second peak of the virus, and substantially increase the number of deaths. It would undo the progress made to date, and as a result, would require an even longer period of the more restrictive social distancing measures."

Mr Raab said there was "light at the end of the tunnel" but right now we are at a "delicate and dangerous stage of this pandemic" and urged UK citizens to be patient a while longer.

Edinburgh has also seen a 52 per cent drop in footfall in parks and green spaces, but with people allowed out to exercise once a day, the Communities Secretary urged local authorities not to close any more parks.

Speaking at a daily press conference from Number 10, Robert Jenrick said: "While the virus does not discriminate, we know that the lockdown is much harder for people who don’t have a lot of living space, who don’t have a garden, and who don’t have anywhere for their children to run around.

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"That’s why I have made it clear to councils that all parks must remain open.

"For the health of the nation, people should be able to safely enjoy fresh air and green space."

The full results for Edinburgh are:

Trips to retail and recreation establishments had been 86 per cent below normal, and have remained the same

Footfall in grocery stores and pharmacies had been 42 per cent below normal, but have since increased to 34 per cent

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Workplaces had seen a 67 per cent drop, and have since further decreased to 68 per cent

Visits to parks and green spaces had been 34 per cent below average, and are now 52 per cent below

Visits to public transport stations had been 83 per cent below average, and have remained the same

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