Britons are less worried about coronavirus and more confident in the NHS, poll reveals

Yahoo News UK
National concern about coronavirus is falling, as many grow weary of lockdown restrictions. (AFP)
National concern about coronavirus is falling, as many grow weary of lockdown restrictions. (AFP)

Public concern about coronavirus is falling, research has revealed.

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Overall worry about COVID-19 has dropped, confidence in the NHS is still on the rise, and Boris Johnson’s popularity is slightly waning, a survey carried out by Ipsos MORI suggests.

The report also showed that the amount of people who admitted to being ‘concerned’ about coronavirus fell from 78% in March to 69% at the end of April.

The number of people who say they are ‘very concerned’ for both the country as a whole (49%, down from 63%) and on a personal level (28%, down from 36%) has also fallen since lockdown began.

However, there has been a significant rise in the number of people that think the government acted too late in taking stricter measures, up nine percentage points, from 57% to 66% in the last two weeks.

According to a YouGov poll published on 23 April, the prime minister currently has an approval rating of 34% and public perception of him is mostly (47%) negative. However, these figures are expected to alter slightly after the announcement of the birth of his son on Wednesday.

YouGov said a further 17% have a "neutral" opinion of him. And of those polled, 60% agreed that they thought the government had, overall, handled the crisis ‘well’.

While Johnson’s overall approval rating may seem low, he is still 9% more popular than Theresa May, who gained a 25% approval rate at the conclusion of her time in office.

Boris Johson returned to work on Monday and became a father again on Wednesday when fiancée Carrie Symonds gave birth to the couple's first child. (Getty)
Boris Johson returned to work on Monday and became a father again on Wednesday when fiancée Carrie Symonds gave birth to the couple's first child. (Getty)

Keiran Pedley, research director at Ipsos MORI, said: “Although the public are still showing high levels of concern about [coronavirus], these trends suggest the government faces two challenges.

“Firstly, how do you ensure people stay in lockdown as they becomes less concerned about the risk the virus poses to themselves personally.

“Secondly, if the public reaches a consensus that the government acted too slowly in dealing with the virus in the first place, it may have difficult questions to answer on that in the future.”

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Thursday’s figures showed that confidence in the NHS continues to grow and now stands at 82%, with just 16% of people not confident its ability to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

This compares favourably to mid-March where 62% were confident and 36% were not. The proportion of Britons that are ‘very confident’ in the ability of the NHS to deal with coronavirus has more than doubled in this time – from 15% to 32%.

Despite the bad weather sweeping across the UK, millions of people are expected to join the weekly applause for the NHS at 8pm on Thursday evening.

Lockdown in Britain could last until the end of May, a spokesman from 10 Downing Street has suggested. Johnson will head up his first daily press conference for almost a month on Thursday afternoon.

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