Fearful Britain: Just 8 Per Cent Felt Comfortable Having Physical Contact with Others During Pandemic

An elderly resident of the Villa Sacra Famiglia nursing home (RSA) in Rome holds the hand of her daughter through a plastic screen in a so-called "Hug Room", on March 03, 2021 amid the new coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. - The Hug Room allows guests and their families to embrace each …
TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images

Fewer than one in ten Britons said they felt comfortable having physical contact with others when the occasion arose during the pandemic.

YouGov asked 4,085 adults in Britain on Wednesday whether they had had “physical contact (e.g. a hug or handshake) with someone in the last year out of politeness, despite not wanting to because of Covid”, with more than one-in-five (21 per cent) saying they had touched another person, despite not wanting to.

Eleven per cent said they avoided physical contact when the situation arose, either explaining why they would not touch someone or simply not reciprocating the gesture.

Just eight per cent had admitted they felt “comfortable having physical contact despite Covid” and did not avoid hugs or handshakes. While 56 per cent said that in a whole year, they had not themselves in that position.

The findings are similar to those in the past year, which point to a fearful population keen for stricter lockdown measures.

In September, after a poll found nearly two-thirds of Britons backed a 10 pm curfew for pubs, an anonymous Conservative MP said that the government’s messages on the Chinese coronavirus had made Britons “fearful”, driving them to support “authoritarian” measures.

Other polls in the past twelve months have shown citizens backing mandatory vaccines in employment contracts, harsher penalties for those deemed to have broken lockdown rules, and tracking people subject to quarantine via their mobile phone.

Last month, lockdown sceptic Conservative MP Desmond Swayne said he found it “unnerving” the enthusiasm with which “people have embraced the diminution of their civil liberties and their ordinary lives”.

A March poll found that a majority of Britons, a combined 55 per cent, said they would miss lockdown, of which 46 per cent said they would “miss some aspects of lockdown”, and nine per cent said they would miss “many” aspects of it.

With the Conservative government travelling in the direction of imposing immunity certificates, otherwise known as vaccine passports, it is down to a few dozen Tory rebels and the opposition of Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and others to stop it.

However, Labour and the Lib Dems are apparently out of step with the public on immunity certificates. According to another YouGov poll from Tuesday, a combined 58 per cent back vaccine passports, with strong majorities amongst Tory, Lib Dem, and Labour voters.


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