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Cardiff study suggests people will take Covid less seriously without government restrictions

07 Jul 2021 2 minute read
Cardiff Queen Street. Photo by Shengpengpeng Cai on Unsplash

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.”


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3 years ago

Well … yeah. Also moving to a “personal responsibility” model removes ALL the gains you get from coordinated action.
This is why slopey shoulders in WM cost this toxic union so many extra lost lives.
unilateral actions tend to end up working against each other.
This isn’t even hard to understand, so why are the Eton Brexiteer party leading us down this dead end?

Brian Coman
Brian Coman
3 years ago

We appear to be or at herd immunity both in Wales and the UK. Why assume people would disregard everything in the event of loosening restrictions ? While 60,000 people:will be at Wembley tonight, in Cardiff a small amount of people will be sitting outside watching a Shakespeare play,sitting on their own seats without:food or drink ..will they be allowed to applaud?. The Welsh dance company will be performing in the car park at Chapter Arts soon…well 3 of them …to a very limited audience…own chairs again…. as Wimbledon will have a full house for the next 4 days ..with… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Coman

We shall see…………..

3 years ago
Reply to  Brian Coman

Have you heard of hubris? Or indeed facts? Large scale events have been and continue to be trialled in Cymru.
Bozo just opened the floodgates against the scientific advice. We are not immunised until everyone is immunised.
But thank you for being the canary in the cage. We shall watch your experiment with interest

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