New data reveals Fifth of adults admit to ‘contact with someone outside their bubble’

A fifth of adults in Britain had direct contact indoors with someone who was not from their household or support bubble at the beginning of November, a survey suggests.

Some 22 per cent of adults polled said they had physical contact with at least one other person when socialising indoors in the previous 24 hours, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found. This was in settings such as private homes, cafes, pubs or restaurants, excluding those in their household or support bubble, and is a similar proportion to the week before (24 per cent).

The ONS questioned adults about their behaviour between November 5 and 8 as part of its Opinions And Lifestyle Survey, receiving 4,378 responses.

Public health messaging throughout the coronavirus pandemic has consistently advised people to try to keep a distance from those not in their household or bubble.

Over the survey period, Wales was also on a national “firebreak” lockdown, and Scotland had five-tiered “local protection levels”.

A four-week national lockdown for England was imposed on November 5.

People were asked about their behaviour over the past 24 hours, so the data also covers the day before England’s lockdown was imposed.

Examples of direct physical contact may include shaking or holding hands, hugging, and making contact when passing objects, the ONS said.
A quarter (25 per cent) of adults aged 50-69 said they had physical contact while socialising indoors with someone who was not part of their household or bubble.

Those aged 70 and over were least likely to report this (17 per cent), while 23 per cent of 16 to 29-year-olds said they had done so.

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