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Peterborough adhering to lockdown restrictions as much as first lockdown, data shows

After four weeks of lockdown, how much is Peterborough moving?
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How well is Peterborough sticking to lockdown three compared to the first period of restrictions?

Google has been using location data from people's phones to help public health bosses see how closely the country has been sticking to lockdown restrictions.

Using data from both April 11, 2020 - 26 days into the first lockdown - and January 30, 2021 - 26 days into the third lockdown - we can see that people's mobility is very similar across both periods. 

According to the Google data, movement is slightly lower in April, for the first lockdown, but this was also the Easter weekend and so the difference in workplace and retail attendance could be attributed to different plans and traditions taking place.

The most recent data - from January 30 - shows that in Peterborough, footfall is down by 61% in retail and recreation venues. Time spent at grocery and pharmacy locations has fallen by 20% from the established baseline from January and February 2020, prior to the pandemic.

There has been a 68% fall in movement through transportation hubs, such as railway and bus stations, and a 17% drop at workplaces.

Time spent in residential places has risen by 9% from the pre-pandemic levels.

Comparatively, about four weeks into the first lockdown, footfall at retail and recreation venues was down by 76%. Time spent at grocery and pharmacy locations dropped by 29%, with a 47% fall in workplace attendance.

Transit hubs experienced the same drop from the baseline in April as it's experiencing now - 68% less footfall.

Residential areas saw a 17% rise in time spent in data from April 11.

Google collects location data based on data from users who have opted in to Location History from their Google account.

Mark Harper, chairman of the Covid Recovery Group which is made up of lockdown-sceptic Conservative MPs, has reiterated a call for the government to ease lockdown restrictions from March 8 following promising data on vaccine effectiveness.

He said: "With better and better news by the day on the vaccination rollout and its effectiveness, the Government has got to start addressing its mind to the harms caused by the measures we're putting in place to control Covid, as well as to the harms caused by Covid itself.

"Covid is a deadly disease, however lockdowns and restrictions cause immense damage to people's health and livelihoods, and we need to lift them as soon as it is safe to do so.

"The Prime Minister said last week that reopening schools was a 'national priority'. Now that Scotland has indicated that schools are likely to return from February 22, there needs to be a very good reason for keeping English schools shut for so much longer.

"Once the top four risk groups have been vaccinated by February 15, and protected by March 8, the Government must start easing the restrictions. We've got to demonstrate to the public how the good news about the vaccination rollout translates into a return to normal life.

However, scientists advising ministers have warned against lifting restrictions too quickly.

Professor Graham Medley, chairman of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M), said ministers should "make decisions dependent on the circumstances, rather than being driven by a calendar of wanting to do things".

He was backed by Dr Mike Tildesley, also from Spi-M, who said there needed to be a gradual easing out of lockdown to prevent a resurgence of cases and the need to implement tighter controls.