Millions of Brits head off on ‘pingdemic getaway’ despite record numbers on Covid app

Millions of Brits head off on ‘pingdemic getaway’ despite record numbers on Covid app

 

Thousands of tourists desperate to avoid the torrential rain on its way to the UK set off on their holidays today.

Airports were packed with tourists and around 2.3 million drivers took to the roads as schools broke up for the summer.

The great getaway kicked off despite a record number of people in England and Wales being ‘pinged’ by the test and trace app and told to self-isolate for up to 10 days.

A total of 618,903 alerts have been sent to users of the coronavirus app in the week to July 14 and the UK recorded 84 deaths and 39,906 cases of Covid-19 yesterday.

The figures mean Covid cases are falling for the first time in two months, although infections among people in their 20s have risen to a record high, reports the Daily Mail.

Any fears over cases spreading further seemed to have been put to one side by those keen to head to sunnier climes in time for the end of the UK heatwave however.

Travellers weren’t put off by the possibility of having to self-isolate due to Covid-19 restrictions when they return, with London airports including Gatwick and Stansted especially busy.

While the hot weather continued around the country today, forecasters have warned of torrential rain on its way and say it is set to cause flooding, travel disruption and could even leave some parts of the UK ‘cut off’ this weekend.

A month and a half’s rain is expected to fall within a few hours

The Met Office says there could be up to 4in (100mm) of rain in parts of southern England, the Midlands and Wales tomorrow and Sunday. The average rainfall in the UK for the entire month of August is 2.8in (69mm).

Strong winds are also expected along the south coast of England from 3pm today until midnight, with some areas seeing gusts of up to 55mph, particularly along coastlines and near hills. Those out camping have been warned to be on their guard.

There is also another warning for thunderstorms and heavy downpours for southern England and South Wales from 8pm tonight for the next two days with up to 2in (50mm) of rain expected to hammer down in a few hours.

“There is a small chance that some communities will become cut off by flooded roads,” said the Met Office.

Forecasters warned of power cuts and loss of other services to some homes and businesses and said spray and standing water could lead to driving delays and some road closures.

Bus and train services are expected to experience hold ups too due to the weather too.

Temperatures will only fall slightly today however, despite the extreme heat warning ending – the mercury has risen above 88F (31C) in the UK daily for the last six days.

Nothern Ireland is expected to experience the highest temperatures today, after hitting a record 88.5F (31.4C) on Armagh yesterday.

That made it the hottest place in Britain.

The RAC expects around 11.5 million people to be on the move this weekend, with an estimated 2.3 million leisure trips being made by drivers today alone as the ‘staycation getaway’ begins.

But Environment Secretary George Eustice said that Covid-19 measures should not be forgotten during the summer holidays, and that self-isolation is still a key part of the fight against the virus, after 10,000 critical workers in the food sector were advised not to quarantine if they were pinged.

Pressure is increasing on the Government to bring forward the date when people who have been fully vaccinated can avoid self-isolation, currently set August 16, in order to protect food supplies.

The measure, along with a relaxation of self-isolation rules for other critical sectors, will see 10,000 workers not having to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus. They will instead be urged to take daily Covid tests themselves.

Holidaymakers were setting off in their millions today despite high numbers of people being 'pinged' by the Covid app in England and Wales

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