Coronavirus: Nearly three-quarters of people say they've changed their behaviour following government guidance

Almost three quarters of people say they've changed their behaviour in accordance with government advice on coronavirus. (Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Nearly three-quarters of people say they have changed their behaviour following government guidance on coronavirus, a survey has revealed, with almost half believing they will eventually contract the virus.

The YouGov survey, commissioned by Imperial College London’s Patient Experience Research Centre, aimed to capture the public’s attitude following recommendations announced by Boris Johnson on March 16.

The measures encouraged social distancing including avoiding pubs and restaurants but have since been strengthened, with pubs, bars, restaurants, gyms and other places that encourage large groups of people to congregate ordered to close.

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According to the survey, which polled 2,108 UK adults on March 17 and 18, 77% of people were concerned about the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, with 48% of adults who have not tested positive for the virus thinking it’s likely they will become infected.

Nearly 60% of respondents said they had taken some measures to prepare for self-isolation, with 39% stocking up on food and more than a quarter purchasing extra toiletries.

People have been avoiding crowded areas, with many shops like this John Lewis store in Birmingham city centre, changing their opening hours. (Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

While 71% said they had changed their behaviour in response to Government guidance, the figure was just 53% for people in the age bracket 18 to 24.

According to the poll, 93% of people said they took at least one measure to protect themselves from infection, with 83% reporting washing their hands more frequently, half avoiding social events, just over a third (36%) saying they were avoiding public transport and 11% avoiding going to work.

National Institute for Health Research senior investigator Helen Ward said: “The survey shows that most people are listening to Government advice on hand washing, and indicate a willingness to self-isolate if needed.

“However, people were less convinced about the effectiveness of social distancing measures, and fewer were acting on these.

“While it is encouraging that people are aware and taking some steps to protect themselves and others, there is a need for everyone to take far more action on social distancing if we are to stem the epidemic.”