Home U.K. CORONAVIRUS POLL: After horrifying deaths statistic, did UK ease lockdown too early?...

CORONAVIRUS POLL: After horrifying deaths statistic, did UK ease lockdown too early? VOTE

The figure from the Department of Health and Social Care was more than twice that of the 67 people who died from the virus seven days ago and more than triple that of Friday, bringing the total number of UK deaths to 44,798. The increase comes three weeks after shops were allowed to reopen in the first major easing of lockdown and just as restrictions on using public transport are set to be lifted as the Government urges people to return to work rather than stay at home.

Current guidelines for England states that people should consider “all other forms of transport” before using trains, tubes, buses and trams.

But ministers are preparing to ease restrictions to encourage people to return to work and help reboot the economy.

Face masks remain compulsory on public transport and Mr Johnson has hinted they could soon be made mandatory in shops as well.

The Prime Minister also said he wanted people to go back to work “if they can” – in a major shift from the Government’s policy of urging people to work from home where possible.

He said: “I think everybody has sort of taken the ‘stay at home if you can’ – I think we should now say, well, ‘go back to work if you can’.

“Because I think it’s very important that people should try to lead their lives more normally.”

Transport operators have suffered major financial losses as the coronavirus restrictions dramatically drove down passenger numbers.

READ MORE: Coronavirus map LIVE: Second wave panic as death toll DOUBLES in weeks

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The Government gave Transport for London a £1.6 billion package to continue running services after a collapse in revenue in May.

A Whitehall source told the Sunday Telegraph: “It is costing a great deal of money to run all these train services with so few people on them.

“Different departments are looking at ways to ease in the message of avoiding public transport. The best way to do this, and when, is currently under discussion.

“There is some debate about how best to get the message across that the Government wants to allow more people to travel.”

The paper said the Department for Transport had begun discussions with transport operators about the best way to allow people to return to using public transport networks safely.

It comes after the latest easing of lockdown restrictions saw local cricket teams across England return to the field yesterday while swimmers were able to take a dip in outdoor pools for the first time since March.

Outdoor arts performances – including theatres, opera, dance and music – were also able to resume yesterday, with restricted audience numbers and social distancing rules in place.

Beauticians, tattooists and tanning salons will be allowed to reopen from tomorrow and indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities can reopen from July 25.

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