Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

14.10 3 Apr 2020


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Location data from Google has shown the impact of coronavirus restrictions and physical distancing measures, with significant decreases in people's movements across the country.

The tech giant says the findings are from "aggregated, anonymized sets of data" from users who have turned specifically turned on location sharing settings.

It comes as most non-essential businesses remain temporarily shut and people are being urged to stay at home wherever possible.

According to the Google data for Ireland, movement related to shopping and recreation - covering the likes of restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, museums, libraries and cinemas - has fallen by 81% compared to the typical baseline.

Grocery & pharmacy related movement has fallen by 37%, while the movement in public transport hubs is down 78%.

Elsewhere, there's been a 59% fall in visits to parks and other public spaces - although the data also shows spikes in movement in such areas before the more stringent movement restrictions were announced last week.

Those figures reflect the concern by many authorities about the increase in footfall in areas such as Glendalough in the days and weeks that followed the initial introduction of social distancing measures last month.

Meanwhile, movement related to workplaces is down 52% - but there's been a 19% increase in mobility trends for places of residence.

Explaining why they've released the data, Google said: "Google prepared this report to help you and public health officials understand responses to social distancing guidance related to COVID-19.

"[It] shouldn’t be used for medical diagnostic, prognostic, or treatment purposes. It also isn’t intended to be used for guidance on personal travel plans."

Google has made the data - which also includes county-by-county breakdowns - available online.

Main image: Painted social distancing signs on the entrance to Merrion Square in Dublin. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

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