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Public attitudes to coronavirus: May summary

This report includes some high level findings from recent polling work on public attitudes to the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland. A report covering earlier survey work was published on 8 May 2020.

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2. Compliance

Views on guidance

Respondents were asked about their views on government guidance and advice. As shown in Figure 6, the vast majority of respondents agreed that 'by staying at home we are all helping to save lives', and this has remained relatively stable since the end of April. There was also strong agreement with the statement 'I believe the best thing to do in the current situation is to follow the government's advice' although since the end of April there has been a fall in the proportion agreeing with this.

Figure 6: Proportion who agreed/agreed strongly with each statement
This graph shows the proportion of respondents who agreed or agreed strongly with two statements shown at five time points: April 28-29, May 5-6, May 12-13, May 19-20 and May 26-27. The first statement is ‘by staying at home we are helping to save lives’ and the second is ‘I believe that the best thing to do in the current situation is to follow the government’s advice’. The majority of respondents agreed overall with both of these statements, however the proportions who agreed/agreed strongly with each statement have fallen over time. For the first statement, 91% agreed/agreed strongly on April 28-29 and 86% agreed/agreed strongly on May 26-27. For the second statement, 85% agreed/agreed strongly on April 28-29 and 76% agreed/agreed strongly on May 26-27.

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey. Base (n=1004-1037)

Levels of compliance

Respondents were asked which social distancing guidelines they were following from a list provided. As shown in Figure 7, the majority of respondents claimed to be following each of the options shown about avoiding contact, gatherings and non-essential travel or trips. However, the proportions who were trying to keep 2 metres distance when out, avoiding gatherings with friends and family, avoiding non-essential travel and only leaving home for essential trips have fallen in the most recent survey wave.

Of those who were employed, just under two fifths said they were working from home.

Figure 7: Proportions claiming to follow each of the social distancing measures
This chart shows the proportion of respondents who reported following each of the social distancing measures at five time points: April 23-26, May 1-3, May 8-11, May 15-18 and May 22-25. The chart shows high levels of compliance, which have remained relatively constant across each time point. Compliance with ‘Trying to keep 2m distance from people when out’ is highest, with 78% reporting doing this at the latest time point.

Source: Ipsos MORI, Scotland data. Base (n=500-684)

Personal protective actions

Respondents were also asked which personal hygiene actions they had taken to protect themselves from Coronavirus. As shown in Figure 8, the vast majority of respondents reported washing their hands more often, which has remained relatively stable over the last month. Around half were also avoiding touching hard surfaces outside the home, using hand sanitiser throughout the day and using more disinfectants.

While the proportion reporting wearing a face-mask is relatively low, this has increased since the end of April.

Figure 8: Proportions claiming to take each action to protect themselves from Coronavirus
This chart shows the proportion of respondents who reported claiming to take actions to protect themselves from Coronavirus, at three time points: May 8-11, May 15-18 and May 22-25. The most common action to protect themselves reported by respondents is ‘washing hands more often’, with 83% of respondents reporting doing this at the latest time point. The proportion of respondents who reported claiming to wear a face mask is also shown at two additional time points: April 23-26 and May 1-3, and has increased from 17% at the first time point to 30% at the most recent time point.

Source: Ipsos MORI, Scotland data. Base (n=500-684)

Testing

Respondents were asked at two surveys waves whether they agreed or disagreed with statements about testing, tracing and isolation. As shown in Table 1, the vast majority of respondents agreed with each statement.

Table 1: Proportion who agreed or agreed strongly with each statement about testing

Statements

% who agreed/ agreed strongly

I would be willing to isolate for 14 days if someone I had come into contact with had Coronavirus symptoms

90%

I would be willing to undergo Coronavirus testing if asked to do this by the NHS

90%

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey May 12-13. Base (n=1007)

As part of Scotland's testing process I would be happy to provide details of people I had been in contact with if I developed coronavirus symptoms

88%

If I had coronavirus symptoms, I would want to have a test if at all possible

88%

I understand the importance of testing to stop the spread of coronavirus

91%

Source: YouGov weekly Scotland survey May 19-20. Base (n=1037)

Contact

Email: covid-19.behaviours@gov.scot

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