Home working and local lockdowns ‘more popular’

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The public’s appetite for working from home and local lockdowns if a Covid-19 vaccine cannot be found appears to be growing, research suggests.

King’s College London (KCL) has been tracking attitudes during the pandemic.

Results from a survey reveal that 86% believe that, until a vaccine is found, workers should be able to decide whether they returned to the office.

Experts said the results show people are prioritising public health over the economy and their social lives.

A total of 87% of people questioned said that they would accept local lockdowns being imposed in the future, with 85% saying they would accept their own local area being subject to such limitations.

Areas of England and Scotland which have seen a spike in cases are currently subject to local lockdowns to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

Prof Bobby Duffy, director of the policy institute at KCL, said the public seemed “more convinced” of the need for local lockdowns “reflecting the extent to which people are still prioritising public health over the economy and their own social lives”.

The live entertainment industry is one of many to have taken a hit while restrictions have been in place.

Yet some 68% of those surveyed said they would accept a ban on major sporting or cultural events with a live audience.

And as the government prepares to launch a campaign to persuade parents in England that it will be safe for children to return to the classroom next month, attitudes towards home schooling remain almost unchanged since May.

Some 49% of those surveyed said home schooling for most children long-term would be acceptable, compared to 51% a few months earlier.

Of those surveyed, 56% said they would accept parents being able to decide whether or not to send their children back to school – down from 63% in May.

Gideon Skinner, research director at Ipsos MORI, which carried out the survey, said results show that few Britons expect a return to life as normal any time soon, with “many prepared to undertake a wide range of measures over a longer period of time to reduce the risk of spread”.

A total of 2,237 interviews were carried out online with UK residents aged 16-75 last month.

Meanwhile, as the end to the furlough scheme approaches, the percentage of workers who feel certain or think it is likely they will lose their job has dropped from 29% to 25%, while 29% feel they are certain or likely to face significant financial difficulties – a decrease from 34%.

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