Nearly quarter of Brits have had physical contact 'to be polite' despite Covid concerns

7 April 2021, 21:05 | Updated: 7 April 2021, 21:09

21% of Brits have had physical contact out of politeness in the last year
21% of Brits have had physical contact out of politeness in the last year. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Nearly a quarter of Brits have had physical contact with someone during the pandemic despite not wanting to because of Covid fears, according to a new poll.

The YouGov survey showed in the last year 21% of people have had physical contact out of politeness, for example hugging or shaking hands, despite having concerns.

Some 3% said they had done it many times, while 18% said they had done it once or twice.

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More than half (56%) of 4,000 adults questioned said they had not found themselves in that position, while 11% said they had explained why they were not comfortable or simply did not reciprocate.

Some 8% said they have felt comfortable with physical contact despite the pandemic.

It comes after modelling experts last month said measures such as social distancing and wearing face masks should "increase in strength" as lockdown is lifted.

Researchers at Cambridge and Liverpool universities developed new models offering insights into how effective different control measures are on curbing the spread of coronavirus.

The scientists modelled "non-spatial" control measures including social distancing, face masks and hand washing, and "spatial interventions" including lockdown and the restriction of long-distance travel.

Easing lockdown rules will "inevitably increase disease incidence" and the R number without an increase in "non-spatial" measures, the paper said.

But it added that if people social distance, wear face masks and wash their hands then the R number will stay “constant or even reduce” as lockdown is eased.

Step two of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown will begin next week, with non-essential retail, hairdressers and gyms reopening and pubs and restaurants able to open outdoors.

On May 17, six people or two households will be able to meet indoors, people can meet in groups of 30 outdoors while pubs and restaurants will be able to seat customers indoors and cinemas and theatres can reopen.

It is hoped that all legal limits on social contact will be removed on June 21.