Coronavirus effect: Half of British citizens want all travel halted in the United Kingdom

LONDON — The coronavirus outbreak is causing many to push for extreme measures to keep the ailment from spreading in their communities. A survey of 1,000 British adults reveals that half of the participants believe all travel to and from the United Kingdom should be halted until the COVID-19 outbreak is contained.

While just a third of the participants indicated that they’re “very concerned” about the virus, far more have fears about loved ones with compromised immune systems contracting it. In all, about three in four participants (73%) are worried about their elderly relatives and other people they know who are considered to be high-risk for contracting the potentially deadly disease.

Perhaps that’s why so many are calling on officials to take greater steps to prevent outbreaks. About half (49%) of those surveyed don’t think the British government is doing enough to stop the spread of the outbreak. Many think major festivals and sporting events should be canceled. For example, a third believe the summer Olympics in Tokyo should be called off, and just under 30% believe the same for the Euro 2020 soccer tournament. Almost a quarter of Brits want all music concerts banned during the outbreak.

Over a quarter of poll participants are worried about the effect COVID-19 will have on their vacation and travel plans. Still, just 14% are actually considering canceling or changing their travel arrangements.

It appears that suggested precautions to stop the spread of the virus are being taken seriously.  Fifty-three percent of the respondents are now washing their hands more often than usual, with 40% using an anti-bacterial hand gel.

To stay extra safe, about a quarter of Brits are avoiding handshakes, while 14% are turning down hugs.

“Coronavirus has been in the background of our lives for six weeks, but it’s only over the last few days that it’s become something many are beginning to take seriously,” says a spokesman for the research firm OnePoll, which conducted the study, said in a statement. “Previously, it was something affecting other countries – many of which most people wouldn’t have visited, so it was easy to put to the back of your mind. But with several confirmed cases in the UK – a figure which is only likely to rise – people are now thinking more about the effect the virus could have the UK and their own lives.”

Moving forward, nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) said they plan to avoid using public transportation, and 26% will consider staying away from large public gatherings. About 10% are worried about attending large family parties, and 25% will avoid seeing family members or friends who have been to a country with documented coronavirus infections.

Taking it a step further, 21% of respondents will avoid people who have cold or flu-like symptoms.

The survey results show that many Brits are rethinking all public interactions and exposure. Nearly half of parents surveyed are worried about sending their children to school because of the virus. Another 16% have considered keeping their children away from their usual sports teams.

And many Brits surveyed are preparing for the worst. Fifteen-percent are stockpiling food and essential items, while another 18% are considering taking similar action.

Over half of the respondents said they call in sick to work and isolate themselves at the first sign of high body temperature or cough, even if they haven’t been abroad or been in direct contact with someone who has. Similarly, 18% said they have considered calling in sick and saying they need to self-isolate even when they know they don’t have COVID-19.

Click here to follow the latest information from the UK government on the coronavirus outbreak.