Cardiff study suggests people will take Covid less seriously without government restrictions
A study by Cardiff University has suggested that people were likely to take the dangers of Covid less seriously if the national governments of the UK did not impose restrictions.
The UK Government have announced that almost all restrictions in England will be lifted in two weeks’ time with people asked to take “personal responsibility” even as cases of the Delta variant surge to their peak.
Meanwhile, in Wales, any loosening of restrictions will be announced on Friday next week, with the Welsh Government already saying that some restrictions will remain in place in the longer term.
Psychologists at Cardiff University said that lockdowns were important in convincing the public of the severity of the Covid-19 threat, who responded to the “magnitude of the policy response” by the government.
It could mean that scrapping restrictions leads to people ignoring any remaining public health guidance.
Lead author Dr Colin Foad, from Cardiff University, said: “Surprisingly, we found that people judge the severity of the Covid-19 threat based on the fact the government imposed a lockdown – in other words, they thought ‘it must be bad if the government’s taking such drastic measures’.
“We also found that the more they judged the risk in this way, the more they supported lockdown. This suggests that if and when ‘freedom day’ comes and restrictions are lifted, people may downplay the threat of Covid.”
He added: “In order to try and keep public support for lockdowns high, various strategies have been tried by the Government, including reminding people that they and their loved ones are at risk from Covid-19.
“However, we find that most people’s personal sense of threat does not relate to their support for restrictions.”