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Hordes of festive shoppers flock to UK high streets despite Covid warnings

Hordes of Christmas shoppers hit high streets across the country today as the festive buying spree continued with just eleven shopping days remaining till the big day. 

The weekly markets in Newcastle saw hundreds braving the rain to splash their cash. Whilst the majority adhered to social distancing, the sheer number of shoppers meant it was almost impossible at times, with the grey skies seeming to make little difference to the footfall.

Lots were willing to support local independent stalls at both the Tynemouth and Quayside markets, which were only allowed to re-open earlier this month following the lifting of the lockdown.

Most shoppers on a busy Oxford Street wore masks but this evening, but there were some who went without as they wandered between the shops in London

Christmas shoppers on Northumberland street in Newcastle city centre were out in force today as the festive buying spree continued

Christmas shoppers on Northumberland street in Newcastle city centre were out in force today as the festive buying spree continued

Shoppers flocked to Oxford Street (pictured) and Regent Street in London to buy Christmas presents, with less than two weeks to go until the big day

Shoppers flocked to Oxford Street (pictured) and Regent Street in London to buy Christmas presents, with less than two weeks to go until the big day 

Pictures taken on Regent Street and Oxford Street in central London also showed crowds of people hitting the shops. 

It comes after Christmas shoppers were warned by Downing Street on Friday to be careful as London teetered on the brink of being moved into Tier 3 amid a surge in coronavirus cases.  

The case rate per 100,000 people in the capital stood at 191.8 on December 6, up from 158.1 the previous week. 

It means London is ahead of regions, such as the West Midlands, which are already in Tier 3 restrictions. 

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said it would be ‘catastrophic,’ for the capital to enter Tier 3, as he warned: ‘With cases rising we are now at a tipping point, which is why we all have a responsibility to do everything we can to get on top of the virus by following the rules.’

Teenagers have been blamed for the huge uptick in cases, prompting a mass testing programme to be rolled out in secondary schools in the worst-hit boroughs.

While Kent remains in Tier 3, Bluewater shopping centre has kept open for shoppers, with crowds seen walking around the shopping centre earlier today. 

Today security guards could be seen patrolling the Quayside under the iconic Tyne Bridge next to signs encouraging face coverings to be worn, as huge queues formed at popular food huts.

While Kent remains under Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions, Bluewater has kept open for shoppers looking for Christmas presents

While Kent remains under Tier 3 Covid-19 restrictions, Bluewater has kept open for shoppers looking for Christmas presents 

Christmas shoppers were warned by Downing Street on Friday to be careful as London teetered on the brink of being moved into Tier 3 amid a surge in coronavirus cases

Christmas shoppers were warned by Downing Street on Friday to be careful as London teetered on the brink of being moved into Tier 3 amid a surge in coronavirus cases 

London already has a higher case rate than other parts of England living under Tier 3 restrictions. The case rate per 100,000 people in the capital stood at 191.8 on December 6, up from 158.1 the previous week

London already has a higher case rate than other parts of England living under Tier 3 restrictions. The case rate per 100,000 people in the capital stood at 191.8 on December 6, up from 158.1 the previous week

Bluewater's car parks were busy this afternoon as shoppers flocked to the shopping centre in Greenhithe, Kent. The county left the national lockdown under Tier 3 restrictions

Bluewater’s car parks were busy this afternoon as shoppers flocked to the shopping centre in Greenhithe, Kent. The county left the national lockdown under Tier 3 restrictions 

Meanwhile on Northumberland Street, groups of shoppers were seen repeatedly cutting across the one-way walking systems in order to access popular stores such as Primark and JD Sports.

The latest Covid-19 data for Newcastle has shown a dip in positive cases across the last seven days, ahead of the first fortnightly tier review next week.

One onlooker said: ‘The social distancing measures are helping but it’s still very very busy.

‘People are trying but unavoidably ending up too close to each other.’ 

The day of busy shopping comes as households have been warned not to stockpile food and toilet roll ahead of January 1 when the UK stops trading under EU rules. 

Pictures taken on Regent Street in central London also showed crowds of people hitting the shops ahead of Christmas

Pictures taken on Regent Street in central London also showed crowds of people hitting the shops ahead of Christmas 

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned Tier 3 restrictions in the run-up to Christmas would be 'catastrophic' for the capital's bars, restaurants and culture venues, as he urged Londoner to do 'everything they can' to curb the spread of Covid-19

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned Tier 3 restrictions in the run-up to Christmas would be ‘catastrophic’ for the capital’s bars, restaurants and culture venues, as he urged Londoner to do ‘everything they can’ to curb the spread of Covid-19

Christmas shoppers in Manchester today get their gifts in the pouring rain as queues form outside the Arndale Centre and M&S

Christmas shoppers in Manchester today get their gifts in the pouring rain as queues form outside the Arndale Centre and M&S

Meanwhile on Northumberland Street, groups of shoppers were seen repeatedly cutting across the one-way walking systems in order to access popular stores such as Primark and JD Sports

Meanwhile on Northumberland Street, groups of shoppers were seen repeatedly cutting across the one-way walking systems in order to access popular stores such as Primark and JD Sports

Shoppers on Regent Street in central London. It comes as Christmas shoppers were warned by Downing Street on Friday to be careful as London teetered on the brink of being moved into Tier 3 amid a surge in coronavirus cases

Shoppers on Regent Street in central London. It comes as Christmas shoppers were warned by Downing Street on Friday to be careful as London teetered on the brink of being moved into Tier 3 amid a surge in coronavirus cases

The latest Covid-19 data for Newcastle has shown a dip in positive cases across the last seven days, ahead of the first fortnightly tier review next week. Pictured are shoppers on Northumberland street in Newcastle city centre today

The latest Covid-19 data for Newcastle has shown a dip in positive cases across the last seven days, ahead of the first fortnightly tier review next week. Pictured are shoppers on Northumberland street in Newcastle city centre today

Shoppers on Regent Street in central London today. There are 11 days left to go until Christmas Day

Shoppers on Regent Street in central London today. There are 11 days left to go until Christmas Day

A decision on whether the capital will be moved into Tier 3 will be made on December 16. Pictured are shoppers on Regent Street today

A decision on whether the capital will be moved into Tier 3 will be made on December 16. Pictured are shoppers on Regent Street today

Christmas shoppers on Northumberland street in Newcastle city centre out in force despite being in Tier 3

Christmas shoppers on Northumberland street in Newcastle city centre out in force despite being in Tier 3

Shoppers on Regent Street in central London were photographed filling the roads today as thousands were out buying gifts

Shoppers on Regent Street in central London were photographed filling the roads today as thousands were out buying gifts

Christmas shoppers in Manchester today get their gifts in the pouring rain as queues gather outside the Arndale Centre and M&S

Christmas shoppers in Manchester today get their gifts in the pouring rain as queues gather outside the Arndale Centre and M&S

Shoppers at the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham city centre. It comes as the UK recorded a further 165 deaths in hospital settings today

Shoppers at the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham city centre. It comes as the UK recorded a further 165 deaths in hospital settings today

It comes as the Government said a further 144 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Sunday.

As of 9am on Sunday, there had been a further 18,447 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.  

It comes after reports that gadget lovers may not get their Christmas presents until Easter as Dover was choked with 24-hour queues over the weekend with 2,000 more lorries than usual crossing between Britain and Europe every day.

Apple has said its £550 Airpods Max are available for shipping from next Tuesday – but the earliest possible delivery date in the UK appears to be between March 16 and March 30 – two days before Good Friday.

Currys PC World, Argos and Amazon have all sold out of PS5 consoles with the delivery of many kitchen gadgets such as food processors, coffee machines, kettles, toaster and utensils delayed into January.

It came as 3-mile long queues of lorries snaked on the roads to Dover and the Channel Tunnel through Friday night and into Saturday, laying bare the disastrous crush at the nation’s ports.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk