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Brits least likely to support easing lockdown until coronavirus is contained - new poll

Brits are among the least keen to restart businesses while the outbreak is still on-going

3 min read

Brits are the least likely among comparable nations to support an easing of lockdown restrictions until the coronavirus is contained, a new poll has shown

The new Ipsos MORI study found the UK was the most cautious of 14 countries on the prospect of re-opening the economy and returning to work before the virus is fully under control.

The new polling comes amid a growing rift within the Conservative Party over the length of the lockdown, with some senior MPs and party donors urging Boris Johnson to begin re-opening sections of the economy.

But only 25% of Brits agreed with easing the lockdown before the virus is suppressed, with an overwhelming 70% believing that would be the wrong approach.

The UK's wary stance on re-opening the economy is matched only by Canada, followed by Mexico (65%), Spain and Australia (61%) and the United States (59%).

Speaking on the steps of Downing Street for the first time since he was struck down with the illness, Mr Johnson on Monday told the country to "contain your impatience" or risk a deadly second wave of infections.

The Prime Minister instead vowed he would set out more details for easing lockdown restrictions in the coming days, but said the country had not yet reached the moment to "move on to the second phase" of the battle against the infection.

According to the latest poll, over 70% of Brits will still be nervous about leaving their home once businsses are allowed to reopen.

That puts them high on the list of those most worried about their safety once the lockdown ends, with just India, Japan and China polling ahead.

Responding to the figures, Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said: "Our latest polling across 14 countries show that Britons are the most cautious when it comes to reopening the economy, being the least keen for businesses to reopen if the coronavirus is not contained.

"Furthermore, seven in ten Britons say that they will be nervous about leaving the house after the lockdown eases. These suggest that the turnaround in the economy might not be quite so fast as hoped for."

Number 10 on Tuesday denied that the poll's findings suggested the Government had been too forceful in its calls for the public to stay at home.

“The messaging which we have set out was vital to protect the NHS so far we have managed to do that," the Prime Minister's official spokesperson said.

"Everybody who has needed one has been able to get an intensive care bed or access to a ventilator or the treatment which they require.

"That is what we set out to do and that is what has happened and we’re enormously grateful for following the advice which we set out."

Ipsos MORI polled approximately 2,000 individuals in each country between 16-19 April.

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