Majority of Brits believe the government didn't act fast enough on coronavirus outbreak

30 April 2020, 15:37

66% of Brits think the lockdown measures were brought in too late
66% of Brits think the lockdown measures were brought in too late. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

A majority of Britons don't think the government acted fast enough in the coronavirus outbreak, and the number is only increasing, according to a new survey.

Of the 1,066 adults asked by Ipsos Mori, 66 per cent said they think ministers brought in strict measures to deal with the emergency too late, a rise from 57% two weeks ago.

Just 2 per cent think the measures were brought in too soon and 26 per cent said they thought they were brought in at the right time.

New Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he think and inquiry into the government's response to the pandemic is "inevitable"

"I think the Government were slow into lockdown, slow on testing, slow on protective equipment, and may now be slow on our exit strategy," he said.

"I've made clear I'm not asking for lockdown to be lifted. We will support the Government on lockdown being in place for as long as is necessary.

Sir Keir Starmer says he believes an inquiry into the response is "inevitable"
Sir Keir Starmer says he believes an inquiry into the response is "inevitable". Picture: PA

"Nor am I pushing on a timing. What I want to know is what's the plan for the next phase? Because we need to plan for it, decisions need to be taken now, so I've made that clear to the Prime Minister."

However, results of the survey have revealed confidence in how the NHS can deal with the crisis has grown.

Since mid-March belief in the health service's ability to deal with the emergency has risen from 62% to 82%.

The proportion of people who are "very confident" in the ability of the NHS to deal with coronavirus has climbed from from 15% to 32%.

The snapshot poll said people are also becoming less concerned about the risks to them personally from the outbreak.

In the past month, the percentage of people expressing concern about the risk to themselves over time has dropped nine points to stand at 69 per cent.

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The number of people who say they are "very concerned" for the country as a whole has dropped to 49% from 63% when lockdown began in March.

Keiran Pedley, research director at Ipsos Mori, said: "Although the public are still showing high levels of concern about the virus, 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."