Accueil Coronavirus ‘Surge’ in travel expected as families form Christmas bubbles during temporary easing...

‘Surge’ in travel expected as families form Christmas bubbles during temporary easing of Covid measures

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« surge » in travel is expected over the five-day Christmas period as families form their festive bubbles during a temporary easing of coronavirus restrictions.

Trains, roads and coaches are expected to be busier as many people look to make the most of the opportunity to spend the festive period with family and friends.

Coach operator National Express said it is increasing its services to meet demand.

Coronavirus – In pictures

A sign advertising a book titled « How Will We Survive On Earth? » is seen on an underground station platform

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Customers wearing face masks shop at the pork counter of a supermarket following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei province

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Westminster Bridge is deserted in London the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown

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Canadian passengers Chris & Anna Joiner ask for help onboard the MS Zaandam, Holland America Line cruise ship, during the coronavirus outbreak, off the shores of Panama City

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A man crosses a nearly empty 5th Avenue in midtown Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City

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The London Eye is pictured lit blue in support of the NHS, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues

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Boris Johnson addresses the nation on the Coronavirus lockdown

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Commuters cope with Coronavirus

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Milan’s Piazza del Duomo empty

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People in protective clothing walk past rows of beds at a temporary 2,000-bed hospital for COVID-19 coronavirus patients set up by the Iranian army at the international exhibition center in northern Tehran, Iran

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Martina Papponetti, 25, an ICU nurse at the Humanitas Gavazzeni Hospital in Bergamo, Italy poses for a portrait at the end of her shift

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Pope Francis celebrating a daily mass alone in the Santa Marta chapel at the Vatican, as part of precautionary measures against the spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19

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Vysheyshaya Liga – FC Torpedo-BelAZ Zhodino v FC Belshina Bobruisk – Torpedo Stadium, Zhodino, Belarus, March 27, 2020 Players in action during the match despite most sport being cancelled around the world as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues

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Hanks and Wilson both have coronavirus

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General view of an emergency makeshift field hospital as it is set up at Pacaembu Stadium for coronavirus (COVID-19) patients with a capacity of 200 beds in Sao Paulo, Brazil

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People on a busy tube train in London at rush hour despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling on people to stay away from pubs, clubs and theatres, work from home if possible and avoid all non-essential contacts and travel in order to reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic

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Naomi Campbell catches a flight in a hazmat suit with goggles, a surgical mask and rubber gloves

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Sophie and Emily Ward pose for a photograph with their hand-drawn picture of rainbows and a message on their window in St Helens, as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues

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Mia, aged 8, and Jack, aged 5, take part in « PE with Joe » a daily live workout with Joe Wicks on Youtube to help kids stay fit who have to stay indoors due to the Corona virus outbreak.

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Shoppers queue outside a branch of Costco, in Croydon, south London, on the weekend after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered pubs and restaurants across the country to close

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Charing Cross Tube Bakerloo Line very quiet at 8.15am

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A woman with a plastic box over her head on the London Underground.

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A Racegoer attend Cheltenham Festival on Ladies Day wearing a fashionable face mask

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits a laboratory at the Public Health England National Infection Service in Colindale

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A man who appears to be homeless sleeping wearing a mask today in Victoria

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A couple kiss in Milano Centrale railway station in Milan on March 8, 2020

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A combination picture shows visitors wearing protective face masks following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) looking at blooming cherry blossom nd a pigeon walking at an closed cherry blossom viewing spot during the first weekend after Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike (not pictured) urged Tokyo residents to stay indoors, in a bid to keep the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from spreading

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This combination photo created on March 5, 2020 shows tourists visiting Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap province on March 16, 2019 (top) and on March 5, 2020

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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

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U.S. President Donald Trump looks at the $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package bill as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Vice President Mike Pence stand by during a signing ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House

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A satellite image shows an empty South Beach during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Miami,

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General view inside the empty stadium as the two teams line up prior to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund at Parc des Princes

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A Sainsbury’s supermarket in Cambridge is among those to sell out of antibacterial hand sanitizer

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Tents and ambulances are set up next to the Princess Cruises Grand Princess cruise as it sits docked in the Port of Oakland on March 09, 2020 in Oakland, California. The Princess Cruises Grand Princess has been held from docking until today as at least 21 people on board have tested positive for COVID-19 also known as the Coronavirus

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Medical staff produce traditional Chinese medicine to treat patients infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus at a hospital in Wuhan

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Army soldiers wearing protective suits spray disinfectant as a precaution against the new coronavirus at a shopping street in Seoul, South Korea

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Russian President Vladimir Putin wearing protective gear walks at a hospital for patients infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the outskirts of Moscow

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A woman who has recovered from the COVID-19 is disinfected by volunteers as she arrives at a hotel for a 14-day quarantine

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Passengers on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship are seen as the ship arrives at Daikoku Pier where it is being resupplied and newly diagnosed coronavirus cases taken for treatment as it remains in quarantine after a number of the 3,700 people on board were diagnosed with coronavirus

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Dave Abel pictured in hospital in Japan

Manchester United fans in the stands during the Premier League match at Old Trafford

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Police officers wearing masks stand in front of the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in La Caleta, in the Canary Island of Tenerife

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Carnival revellers wear protective face masks at Venice Carnival

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A general view is pictured of Burbage Primary School in Buxton, Derbyshire after the closure of the school as a pupil’s parent has tested positive for the novel coronavirus COVID-19

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People wearing face masks walk past the Olympic rings in front of the new National Stadium, the main stadium for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Game

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People leave Kents Hill Park Training and Conference Centre in Milton Keynes where Coronavirus evacuees are due to be released from quarantine today and allowed to go home

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Matt Raw, a British national who returned from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, leaves quaratine at Arrowe Park Hospital on Merseyside

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A woman wears a mask while crossing London Bridg

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A general view of Worthing Hospital in West Sussex

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Passengers relax on board the Holland America-operated Westerdam cruise ship, which has been denied permission to dock in Thailand over coronavirus fears

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A child waves as she sits in a vehicle carrying residents evacuated from a public housing building, following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, outside Hong Mei House, at Cheung Hong Estate in Hong Kong

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A woman wearing a Minnie Mouse face mask looks at her mobile phone in Beijing on February 11, 2020

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The Costa Smeralda cruise ship of Costa Crociere, carrying around 6,000 passengers, is docked at the Italian port of Civitavecchia after a health alert due to a Chinese couple and a possible link to coronavirus on board, in Civitavecchia, Italy

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A patient covered with a bed sheet at an exhibition centre converted into a hospital as it starts to accept patients displaying mild symptoms of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan

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A medical official takes the body temperature of a man at the departure hall of the airport in Changsha, Hunan Province, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, China

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The view of the Wuhan International Conference and Exhibition Center

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A plane carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China, arrives at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire

A police vehicle enters the gates of the Royal Air Force station RAF Brize Norton in Carterton

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Passengers wear face masks as the push their luggage after arriving from a flight at Terminal 5 of London Heathrow Airport

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French citizens arrive and settle aboard of an evacuation plane with destination southeastern France, before departure from Wuhan Airport (WUH), China

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Police stand at a checkpoint at the Jiujiang Yangtze River Bridge that crosses from Hubei province in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province, China

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A member of staff at Arrowe Park Hospital in Merseyside prepares for a bus carrying British nationals from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan in China

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Doctor Paul McKay, who is working on an vaccine for the 2019-nCoV strain of the novel coronavirus, poses for a photograph with bacteria containing fragments of coronavirus DNA, at Imperial College School of Medicine (ICSM) in Londo

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Workers produce masks at the Thai Hospital Product Company Ltd. factory in Bangkok

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Passengers wearing face masks are seen on a bus after disembarking from the Costa Smeralda cruise ship, after tests on a woman from Macau with suspected coronavirus came back negative, in Civitavecchia, Italy

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People hoard bottles of alcohol after the Philippine government confirmed the first case of the new coronavirus in the country, in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines

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Taking precautions: with fears growing that the coronavirus will spread from China, a health official checks a woman’s temperature on the underground in Beijing

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An empty road is seen in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on January 27, 2020, amid a deadly virus outbreak which began in the city

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Students wearing masks meditate prior to a lesson at a high school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Medical staff at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital wear protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly virus

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Staff move bio-waste containers past the entrance of the Wuhan Medical Treatment Center, where some infected with a new virus are being treated, in Wuhan, China

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Workers driving excavators at the construction site of a field hospital In Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The builders will complete the 1,000-bed hospital by February 3 to cope with the surge of 2019-nCoV patients in the city

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Buddhist monks wear masks as they walk near Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodi

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A woman and a child wearing protective masks walk toward check-in counters at Daxing international airport in Beijing

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An employee sprays disinfectant on a train as a precaution against a new coronavirus at Suseo Station in Seoul, South Korea

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A policeman wearing a mask walks past a quarantine notice about the outbreak of coronavirus in Wuhan, China at an arrival hall of Haneda airport in Tokyo, Japan

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Paramilitary police wear face masks as they stand guard at Tiananmen Gate adjacent to Tiananmen Square in Beijing

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The resident wear masks to buy vegetables in the market in Wuhan

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Staff sell masks at a Yifeng Pharmacy in Wuhan

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Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV

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Chris Hardy, managing director of National Express UK Coach, said: « This is still very much a limited network, equivalent to around 20 per cent of our normal services with a focus on major cities, towns and airports.

« However, as England moves into regional tiers, students are encouraged to make their way home during the designated travel window and guidance is released about what we can do over Christmas, we expect demand for travel in December to grow.

« We are increasing our services in early December and then again later in the month as we get closer to Christmas.

« All decisions are being made in consultation with the Department for Transport (DfT) regarding the requirement for a national coach network to keep the country safely moving. »

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has said it expects a « surge » in passengers over the five days.

UK governments unveil Covid-19 Christmas plans

General secretary Mick Cash said: « RMT supports the railway in playing its role in ensuring that people can see their loved ones this Christmas and I will be seeking urgent discussions with all the train companies and Government to ensure that this is carefully and properly planned to protect the safety of both workers and passengers. »

Rail industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) said that although there is « no concern » of overcrowding on train carriages, thousands of services are expected to run daily to cope with more passengers.

Robert Nisbet, director of nations and regions for the organisation, said: « Rail companies are working together with the Government to ensure that passengers can travel with confidence over the festive period and thousands of services will continue running daily up to and after Christmas.

« The latest information is on train operator websites and we are asking people to book ahead, avoid busy times and check before they travel.

« Through our safer travel pledge we are cleaning more often and providing better travel information, and we’re asking people to help others by washing their hands regularly and wearing a face covering, unless exempt. »

Overcrowding on carriages became a concern after it was announced that engineering work by Network Rail would take place from December 23 to January 4.

Most of the railway will stay open, but some lines will be closed to allow the work to take place.

London King’s Cross station will be closed for six days from Christmas Day as a £1.2 billion upgrade of the East Coast Main Line continues.

Related

London North Eastern Railway has warned that « alternative routes will likely be very busy and should also be avoided ».

However, the AA has said it was not « overly concerned » that traffic congestion could occur on roads, suggesting many families had cancelled plans to spend Christmas together.

Edmund King, AA president, said: « Two fifths of drivers who had already cancelled festive travel plans may have been wary of risk to their loved ones – or perhaps secretly happy to avoid a visit to the in-laws. » 

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