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Fishermen and women are celebrating after they were given the go ahead to continue angling during the current national lockdown.
The UK government has confirmed that the sport is a permitted form of exercise, though people would still have to adhere to the rules.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that people were to stay at home until at least the middle of February.
It comes as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise sharply across the country, with yesterday (8 January) seeing a record number of new cases (68,053) and deaths (1,325).
John Ellis, national fisheries and angling manager for the Canal and Rivers Trust, told the BBC that he has noticed a huge uptake in angling over recent months, and that it can easily be done under the current restrictions.
He said: "It is certainly one of few things people can do legally, can do locally."
Adding: "When you are focussing on fishing, it is very hard to think about anything else, it clears the mind of other worries, at least temporarily."
These feelings were backed up by Headway Birmingham & Solihull, a charity that supports people who have suffered brain injuries, which runs fishing sessions for its users.
It said: "It encourages them to be more active and get some fresh air out in the countryside," she said.
"It also helps their motivation and mental wellbeing, giving them something to look forward to each week, something to talk about and a chance to form friendships with others who enjoy fishing too."
And Spencer Moore, a bailiff for Blackfords Progressive Angling Society, based in South Staffordshire, said it had helped him wind down and relax.
"There are people furloughed, sitting in their house or working from home, but at least they can fish and can get out and wind down," he said.
"Being a fisherman, you are on your own on your peg. Someone might be on another peg, but they can be 20 to 30ft away, so you are nowhere near anyone else."
Under the current restrictions, people must limit their movements as much as possible, and have been told they are only to leave their home for a limited number of reasons, such as to exercise, to carry out voluntary work, to do the shopping, and for medical reasons.
Mr Johnson said during his address to the nation that if people were able to work from home, it was important they do so.
He also confirmed recently that 1.3 million people in the UKhave so far received their coronavirus vaccine.
However, he announced that data from the Office for National Statistics estimates that as many as one in every 50 people in England could currently have the deadly disease, with some experts claiming it is as many as 1 in 15 in some parts of London.
Mr Johnson also said that his government would be using 'every second' of the lockdown to create an 'invisible shield' around the elderly and vulnerable in society through the vaccination programme, and promised to have everyone in the highest risk categories offered a vaccine by 15 February.
Featured Image Credit: BBC
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