GOOGLE is using location data gathered from phones to help public health officials understand how people’s movements have changed in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.

The reports use data from people who have opted in to storing their location history with Google to help illustrate the degree to which people are adhering to government instructions to shelter in place and, where possible, work from home.

The COVID-19 Community Mobility Report dated March 29 showed a decline of 80 per cent of people in Greater London heading to public transportation such as bus and train stations.

It also showed that retail recreation – which comprises restaurants, shopping centres, theme parks, museums, libraries and movie theatres – saw an 87 per cent decline in visits.

Workplaces saw a decline of 62 per cent, followed by public parks (59 per cent) and grocery stores and pharmacies (48 per cent).

Residential areas, on the contrary, saw an increase of 19 per cent in visits.

According to Google, the report was to assist the public and public health officials to understand responses to social distancing guides relating to Covid-19.

“This report 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,” it added.

The report was calculated based on data provided by Google users who have opted-in provide their location history on their respective accounts.

“These reports were developed to be helpful while adhering to our stringent privacy protocols and protecting people’s privacy.

“No personally identifiable information, like an individual’s location, contacts or movement, is made available at any point,” it said.

The UK is preparing to enter its third week in lockdown, with people instructed to stay at home to curb the spread of coronavirus.