Numbers self-isolating during a seven-day period falls to lowest level – ONS

The proportion of adults who reported self-isolating during a seven-day period in Britain has fallen to its lowest level, a survey suggests.

Just over one in 10 adults (13%) surveyed between May 28-31 said they had self-isolated during the previous week, according to research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is down from almost a fifth (19%) of respondents the previous week, and “the lowest level across all the weeks data have been collected for” during the coronavirus outbreak.

HEALTH Coronavirus Isolating
(PA Graphics)

The latest in a series of surveys since late March from the ONS also showed the percentage of people only leaving the house for essential reasons has reached its lowest level.

Around 63% of people said they had stayed at home and only left the house for work, exercise, essential shopping or medical needs during the previous seven days.

This is a drop of around 10 percentage points from the previous survey – the biggest fall recorded between surveys.

The proportion of people telling the ONS they have self-isolated and those saying they have only left the house for essential reasons has been falling since early April.

The survey, which had 1,224 responses, asked people about their behaviour during the previous seven days, covering May 21-28.

It was on May 22 that news first broke of political aide Dominic Cummings’ 260-mile drive to Durham while his wife was ill.

Dominic Cummings
Dominic Cummings drove to Durham while he and his wife were exhibiting symptoms (Yui Mok/PA)

He was struck down with the virus the following day and was accused of breaking the Government’s lockdown regulations, sparking fears the public may increasingly start to flout the rules.

It also follows the change in advice from the Government on May 10, from Stay At Home to Stay Alert.

This included encouraging those in England who are unable to work from home to return to their jobs if their workplace is open from May 13.

More than a quarter (28%) of people aged 70 and over said they had self-isolated during the previous seven days, along with 19% of people with an underlying health condition.

These are both falls from the proportions reported during the previous week (36% and 33% respectively).

And one in 10 adults said they lived in households where everyone had self-isolated over the past seven days, a fall from 17% the previous week and the lowest proportion across the weeks.

The ONS cautioned that some people choose to self-isolate for other reasons so the results are not an estimate of those with Covid-19 symptoms or diagnoses.

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