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Adults avoiding physical contact while out ‘at lowest level since September’

·2-min read

The proportion of adults avoiding physical contact with others when outside their home is at its lowest level for seven months, figures show.

Compliance with most measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 remains high, according to an Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey carried out between April 28 and May 1.

However, the proportion of adults avoiding physical contact outside the home fell to 82% – the lowest it has been since September 9-13.

Some 15% who left their homes said they had not avoided physical contact with others when out and about.

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The percentage of adults always or often maintaining social distancing when meeting up with people outside their household, support or childcare bubble is also at its lowest level since early November.

Some 84% said they had done this in the last seven days.

Some 16% responded “sometimes”, “not very often” and “never”, rising to 31% of adults aged 16-29.

The ONS has previously said there may be “valid, essential reasons” why people are unable to maintain social distancing and this does not necessarily mean they are breaking coronavirus rules.

The ONS analysed responses from 3,826 adults in Britain polled as part of its Opinions and Lifestyle Survey.

It found that the percentage of adults who stayed at home or only left their home for work, exercise, essential shopping or medical needs fell to 21%.

This is the lowest proportion since September 16-20.

More people said they had left home to use services that were previously closed during lockdown, for example to visit hair salons or to shop for non-essentials.