A surge in walking and driving was witnessed in Britain over the weekend after the government eased lockdown restrictions, writes Nicu Calcea.

The new rules — combined with warm spring weather — led to movement rates rising to 60% of pre-Covid-19 levels on Saturday.

That compares to nearer 30% towards the end of March.

Numbers have been edging up since then – with the Bank Holiday weekend on May 8-10 showing an increase in walking in particular, ahead of the lockdown restrictions being partially lifted.

Since Wednesday, people have been allowed unlimited exercise and can drive to other destinations in England such as beaches or parks.

Data from Apple Maps shows easing the restrictions had a clear and immediate effect.

The chart below shows how many requests for directions were made in the UK each day up to May 16. Data for May 11-12 is not available.

Public transport activity has registered only a slight increase and is now at around 20% of pre-coronavirus levels.

UK drivers made 25% more requests for driving directions from Wednesday to Saturday last week compared to the week before, and 70% more than the same days the week lockdown started.

Despite the easing of the lockdown, the government recommends people should continue working from home and avoiding public transport whenever possible.