Coronavirus: Poll reveals Britons overwhelmingly back lockdown and worry it will be eased too soon

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Members of the public walk along the beach front at Portobello as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
Britons continue to back coronavirus restrictions, a poll has shown (PA Images via Getty Images)

The vast majority of Britons back the government’s coronavirus restrictions and are worried they will be eased too soon, a poll has revealed.

The latest survey from Deltapoll shows that the UK’s social distancing measures remain popular with the public, but there is concern they will be lifted too quickly.

On Monday, in his first speech since he was hospitalised with coronavirus, Boris Johnson warned of a “huge loss of life” if restrictions are eased too soon.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 27: Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks in Downing Street as he returns to work following his recovery from Covid-19 on April 27, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Boris Johnson speaks in Downing Street on Monday as he returned to work following his recovery from COVID-19. (Getty Images)

The poll of more than 1,500 people carried out at the end of last week showed that almost nine out of 10 Britons (89%) support the government’s “stay at home” measures”.

However, almost two-thirds of those surveyed (63%) said they are worried the UK will “move too quickly to lift restrictions”.

This compared with one in five (21%) who said they were concerned the government is moving too slowly to scale back its social distancing measures.

Under the restrictions, people can only go outside for food, health reasons, one form of exercise per day or work (but only if they cannot work from home). If they do go outside, people must stay 2 metres away from others.

The Deltapoll survey showed that only 6% of Britons are opposed to the measures.

However, two out of three Britons (66%) said they thought the restrictions were introduced too late when brought in last month.

Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice

Live: Follow all the latest updates from the UK and around the world

Fact-checker: The number of COVID-19 cases in your local area

6 charts and maps that explain how COVID-19 is spreading

Half of those surveyed (51%) said they thought the rules were “about right”, while 39% said they don’t go far enough.

Joe Twyman, director of Deltapoll, said: “The results demonstrate the difficulty facing Boris Johnson as he returns to work this morning.

“On one hand, the public overwhelmingly support the rules that are currently in place and a large majority worry that they could be lifted too quickly.

“On the other hand, a significant proportion of the public expect to soon face extreme financial difficulty if the situation continues.

“Finding the right line to take between addressing both the health problems and the economic problems facing the country is an enormous challenge.”

On Sunday, foreign secretary Dominic Raab rejected calls for the government to publish its “lockdown exit strategy”, as the number of deaths in UK hospitals from COVID-19 passed the 20,000 mark.

Watch the video below

On Monday morning, addressing the nation in his first speech in Downing Street since recovering after his hospital stay, Johnson said: “I want to thank you the people of this country for the sheer grit and guts you've shown and are continuing to show.

"I know there will be many people looking at our apparent success, and beginning to wonder whether now is the time to go easy on those social distancing measures.

“I want to get this economy moving as fast as I can, but I refuse to throw away all the effort and the sacrifice of the British people and to risk a second major outbreak and huge loss of life and the overwhelming of the NHS.

"And I ask you to contain your impatience, because I believe we are coming now to the end of the first phase of this conflict and in spite of all the suffering we have so nearly succeeded.”

Earlier, junior health minister Edward Argar said “we’re not there yet” when it comes to easing social distancing measures.

He told BBC Breakfast: “I understand the frustrations that people are having with these measures, they are restrictive and they are very difficult.”

He said the measures have “made a real difference”, adding: “I’ve seen a lot of the speculation in the papers and beyond in recent days but the reality is we’re not there yet.

“We’re not in a place where the science says it is safe to ease the restrictions.”

Coronavirus: what happened today

Click here to sign up to the latest news, advice and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting