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Coronavirus: more people are following government advice

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Julian Dailly EVP 23/03/2020

Coronavirus daily tracker: 23rd March 2020

In the first of our daily coronavirus tracker updates, it appears that the British public are slowly starting to take note of government warnings to stay apart…

One in seven (12-17%) say that they do not know anything about the Prime Minister’s daily press conference.

Self-isolation and reducing social contact

The number of people reporting that they left their house yesterday is decreasing.

On Sunday, only 56% of people said that they had left their house the day before, compared to 66% on Saturday and 75% on Wednesday (18th).

There is a chance that this is down to those who are still going to work not doing so at the weekend. Nonetheless, it is interesting, and we will monitor these figures throughout the week to see if commuting is indeed affecting how many people are leaving their homes.

Digital communications: keeping in touch and online spending

We also saw a small spike on Sunday in people reporting that they video called someone or bought something online (29% on Sat up to 33% on Sunday for video call; 27% on Sat to 31% on Sunday for online purchases).

The increase in communications could be partially down to Mother’s Day, with many people who would normally visit their mum choosing instead to chat over the phone.

It could also be simply down to “usual” weekend activity i.e. those who work during the work have more time to call their friends and family on Saturday and Sunday, as well as more time to make online purchases.

Working from home

More people are also saying that they’re now working from home but usually work in a different location, up to 41% yesterday compared to around a third (30-33%) throughout last week.

Grocery shopping: has the panic buying stopped?

General activity has also reduced; fewer people told us yesterday that they went to the supermarket (40% down from high 40s previously). Following the panic buying scenes over the past fortnight, have people finally bought everything they need for a lockdown?

Perhaps so. Between Wednesday and Friday last week, over a quarter told us that in the last week they bought more than they would usually when they visited a supermarket (27-29%); this was down to one in five on Saturday and Sunday (19-20%).

How well is the government handling the pandemic?

The numbers saying that they approve of how various figures are managing the outbreak continue to rise. However, it seems that some people are trying to steer clear of coronavirus coverage: for example, one in seven (12-17%) say that they do not know anything about the Prime Minister’s daily press conference.

We’ve also seen the highest numbers saying they approved of the UK government’s handling of the situation (60% up from 51% last Weds). Approval ratings for the NHS also continue to rise, increasing from 84% from 79-80% previously.

However, people perceive that the government – despite its promises to pay wages for workers affected by business closures- is failing to support the self-employed – this figure is up to 54% on Sunday from 47% on Saturday.

We will be updating our coronavirus tracker daily and weekly as this unprecedented pandemic unfolds. Please get in touch for more information.

This data originally appeared in The Telegraph.

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