MORE than half of adults in the UK think Boris Johnson called the Covid-19 lockdown too late, a poll has found.

The restrictions on movement, shopping, work and leisure were announced by the Prime Minister in a televised address to the nation a week and a half ago.

In his speech on March 23, Johnson – who has since revealed he has tested positive for the coronavirus – said the public would only be allowed out of their homes to buy food or medication, to exercise once a day, or to travel to work, if that work was deemed necessary.

A ban on gatherings of more than two people from different households was also put in place, while shops selling non-essential items were told to close – guidance also applied to public amenities like libraries and playgrounds.

According to research released yesterday morning, most adults in the UK think those measures should have been put in place earlier.

In online research, pollsters Ipsos MORI questioned around 1100 people aged 18 to 75 and found 56% agreed that the lockdown should have started earlier.

A total of 35% of respondents said they thought the measures were taken at the right time, while only 4% said they were taken too soon. When broken down into voting habits, only half of Conservative supporters think Johnson acted at the correct time, with 44% stating he moved too slowly.

Amongst Labour voters, 69% said the move had come too late, compared with 22% who agreed it had happened at the right moment.

Despite a majority of those polled saying they thought the measures were enacted too late, the poll also suggested the steps taken by the UK Government have been effective.

As many as 79% of those who responded said they are now avoiding leaving their homes – a significant increase on the 50% who said they were doing so before the lockdown was enforced.

Meanwhile, 82% said they are washing their hands – up from 77% a week ago – while 36% are working from home and 27% are using online banking, a slight increase of 3%.

Kelly Beaver, managing director of public affairs at Ipsos MORI, commented: “It is very encouraging to see that four in five people are now avoiding leaving their home following the Government’s enforcement of this last week.

“While the majority of people feel it came too late, the impact it has had on people’s behaviour is critical at a time when we all need to be doing our part.”

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