Poll: Over Half of Britons Say Government Was Too Slow on Coronavirus

LONDON (Reuters) -
General view of an NHS drive through coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing facility in the car park of Chessington World of Adventures, in Britain, Tuesday. (Reuters/Peter Nicholls)

More than half of Britons think Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government was too slow to order a lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus, according to an opinion poll published on Thursday.

The Ipsos MORI poll, carried out online between March 27 and March 30 showed 56% of respondents believed the government’s enforcement of social distancing measures was taken too late, compared with 4% who felt that they were taken too soon.

Johnson ordered restaurants, gyms and other businesses to close on March 20, after similar measures were taken by other European governments, plunging their economies into a likely deep recession.

Figures published on Wednesday showed the number of people with coronavirus who have died in Britain rose by 563 to a total 2,352, fewer than in Italy, Spain and France but more than in Germany.

Johnson is also facing criticism about a slow roll-out of testing for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

The Ipsos MORI poll showed 79% of respondents said they were avoiding leaving their homes, up from 50% before the government’s lockdown. Ipsos MORI said it interviewed 1,072 British adults aged 18-75.