‘Fearful’ Two-Thirds of Britons Want Tougher Coronavirus Restrictions

Commuters wearing a face mask or covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, walk past a London
TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images

Nearly two-thirds of Britons think that the prime minister’s coronavirus restrictions do not go far enough.

The poll conducted by ORB International for The Telegraph found that 63 per cent of Britons thought that Boris Johnson should go farther than introducing a 10 pm curfew on pubs, with 51 per cent calling for salons and gyms to be closed as well.

One anonymous senior Conservative MP speaking to the newspaper on Saturday said that Britons had been made “fearful” by the government’s messages on the risks of coronavirus, driving citizens to back “authoritarian” measures.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to face a rebellion over the emergency coronavirus laws, which have to be approved every six months. Some 42 Conservative MPs support a motion which would force the government to put any coronavirus measures to MPs for a vote, in order to stop ministers bypassing parliament to force through new coronavirus restrictions.

Media reported on Friday that MPs will be given a vote on the rule which prohibits people gathering in groups of larger than six. Currently, breaking the law could result in measures up to and including being arrested. If MPs vote against it on October 6th, it will be abolished.

The ORB poll also revealed that 83 per cent of people are frightened of a second wave “hitting the UK hard”.

Britons, by and large, appear to be backing the new restrictions, as demonstrated in polls from earlier this month. One YouGov poll from earlier this week found that 78 per cent of Britons support Mr Johnson’s latest social distancing rules, with almost half (45 per cent) saying that the restrictions had not gone far enough.

Two weeks ago, 73 per cent told pollsters they were worried about a second wave, and 74 per cent feared that Britons were not taking coronavirus seriously enough.

Britons’ attitudes were not always skewed towards fear, however.

An earlier YouGov poll from before the lockdown dated March 13th found most people were not frightened of catching the Chinese virus.

A Conservative government briefing document dated March 22nd found that Britons were not feeling “personally threatened” by the pandemic, which was problematic.

The document read: “A substantial number of people still do not feel sufficiently personally threatened; it could be that they are reassured by the low death rate in their demographic group, although levels of concern may be rising.”

“The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging. To be effective, this must also empower people by making clear the actions they can take to reduce the threat,” the document added.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.