Four in ten Brits think government needs to do more on COVID-19

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
March 19, 2020, 12:24 PM GMT+0

A similar figure believe the government is doing enough, however – and one in ten believe they have overreacted

With the government taking increasingly strict steps aimed at trying to bring COVID-19 under control, a new YouGov survey for Channel 5 news examines what Britons think of the state response so far.

Close to four in ten Brits (38%) think the government is underreacting to the COVID-19 outbreak. A similar figure believe the reaction to have been about right, while 10% think the government’s response has been an overreaction.

The survey was conducted on March 16th and 17th, prior to announcements that non-urgent operations would be postponed, schools would be closed and loans would be made available to businesses affected by the pandemic.

Age is a key factor in how people feel – younger people are much more likely to think the government hasn’t done enough. Half of 18 to 24 year olds think the government must do more, compared to 30% of those aged 65 and over.

Older people are more likely to think the government’s approach is about right – 51% of those aged 65 and above compared to 19% of 18 to 24 year olds.

One in eleven Brits won’t self-isolate for two weeks

Government advice has been to self-isolate for seven days if you exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, or for 14 days if a member of your household does. When Brits were asked whether they would stay home for 14 days if they found themselves in such circumstances, more than three quarters (78%) said yes, while one in eleven (9%) said no.

There is a notable gender gap in this response, with men more likely to say they wouldn’t keep themselves indoors than women (13% versus 6%).

When asked why they wouldn’t isolate themselves for the recommended amount of time, the most common responses among this group are: can’t afford it (24%), don’t think it is necessary (18%) and fear of losing their job (11%).

Photo: Getty

See the full results here

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