COVID-19 – One in seven people would avoid people of Chinese origin or appearance

The threat of COVID-19 could have a significant impact on the UK public’s behaviour, according to a new Ipsos poll.

The author(s)
  • Kelly Beaver MBE Chief Executive, UK and Ireland
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A new global poll by Ipsos shows the extent to which the UK public may change their behaviours because of the threat of the virus, including 14% saying they would avoid contact with people of Chinese origin or appearance.

The threat of COVID-19 could have a significant impact on the UK public’s behaviour, according to an Ipsos survey conducted online from February 7 to 9, 2020 among 8,001 adults aged 16 (18) -74 in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Two-thirds of people in the UK say they would consider avoiding travelling to infected countries or areas (65%), while three in ten would avoid large gatherings of people or travelling by air for holidays (both 29%). A quarter say they would avoid shaking hands with others (26%), and one in five say they would avoid travelling by public transport (22%).

Covid-19 / Coronovirus: Just over one in ten report that they would take none of these actions | Ipsos

The survey also shows the potential longer-term impact of the virus. Over three-quarters of the UK public believe that people will be less likely to travel to China (77%), while three in five think that major international events like the Olympics could be in jeopardy (60%).

While the UK public are concerned about the long-term impact of the virus, they do have confidence in many of the organisations tasked with dealing with it. Confidence is highest in local health services, health professionals and the World Health Organization (all 71%).

Full results and our findings on the perceived threat to world, can be found on the Ipsos website.

Ben Page, CEO Ipsos says:

Our research shows that there is a high level of awareness of the COVID-19 outbreak and a belief that we have some way to go before it is contained. High levels of concern are likely to be the driver for the behaviour changes people are considering.
It is, however, encouraging that there are also high levels of trust in the health services and professionals in the UK to deal with it effectively.

About the Study

These are the results of an Ipsos survey conducted February 7-9, 2020 on the Global Advisor online platform among 8,001 adults aged 18-74 in Canada and the United States and 16-74 in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom.
The sample consists of approximately 1000+ individuals in each country. The samples in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. can be taken as representative of these countries’ general adult population under the age of 75. The sample in Russia is more urban, more educated and/or more affluent than the general population and should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of the population. The data is weighted so that each market’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data.
Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses.
The precision of Ipsos online polls are calculated using a credibility interval with a poll of 1,000 accurate to +/- 3.5 percentage points and of 500 accurate to +/- 4.8 percentage points. For more information on the Ipsos use of credibility intervals, please visit the Ipsos website.
This study did not have any external sponsors or partners. It was initiated and run by Ipsos with the intention to share our understanding about the world we live in and how citizens around the globe think and feel about their world.
The author(s)
  • Kelly Beaver MBE Chief Executive, UK and Ireland

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