Following an initial 75% reduction in vehicle activity for the first three days of lockdown, new data from Tracker shows a significant uptick in vehicle movement at the end of last week.
Nationally, vehicles of all types recorded substantially more trips towards the end of last week, the vehicle tracking group said.
Passenger vehicle activity showed the most notable change from 15 to 17 April – where people completed 40% of the trips they took prior to lockdown, a significant increase from only 22% of pre-lockdown trips completed in the prior week.
Stops at shopping centres and service stations also showed this uptick trend, almost doubling on Thursday last week from the prior week.
More citizens might be on the road as eased regulations allows for additional essential and urgent services during the extended lockdown period, Tracker said.
However, such a significant increase in vehicle movement over the past few days more likely indicates a negative shift in compliance to lockdown rules, particularly as the increase in movement started ahead of Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s regulations amendments announcement.
“The spreading of the virus is more likely with increased movement and interaction,” said Michael du Preez, executive: product and marketing at Tracker South Africa.
“We appeal to people to continue to adhere to government’s call to stay home and only go out when necessary, for your safety and the safety of your fellow citizens.”
Linda Reid, head of data for analytics company Lightstone said that people are also likely running out of food, having originally prepared for a three week lockdown.
“It’s feasible that people had bought enough to get them through the initial 21-day lockdown,” said Reid. “However, with that period coming to an end, it’s possible that their supplies were running out, resulting in higher volumes of people needing to shop at the end of last week.”