‘Covid shame’ is stopping people from reporting symptoms or even at quite a social distance

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Coronavirus ‘shame’ has stopped people from reporting symptoms or even at quite a social distance, a new report warns.

Researchers from the University of Kent and Leeds Beckett University said there is a link between feelings of shame and ignoring social distance guidelines.

It found that those who felt stigmatized by having the virus were less likely to report their condition through appropriate channels – or even tell their family about it.

The study focused on the US, Italy and South Korea and found that the lack of trust in the government was another important factor in whether people told others about their positive test.

A student takes a lateral flow test at Weaverham High School in Cheshire on March 9

A student takes a lateral flow test at Weaverham High School in Cheshire on March 9

Where people trusted their government’s COVID response, they were more likely to follow guidelines, the study found. It found greater compliance in South Korea and Italy, while Americans previously ignored lockdown measures.

Study co-author Dr.  Giovanni Travaglino

Study co-author Dr.  Giovanni Travaglino

Study co-author Dr. Giovanni Travaglino

The study authors say that people being ashamed to contract the virus may actually have exacerbated the situation.

Co-author of the study, Dr. Giovanni Travaglino, said: ‘Our research highlights the importance of controlling the stigma associated with Covid-19, which could undermine the authorities’ efforts to control it.

“When governments and decision-makers make policies and regulations regarding Covid-19, they should be aware that stigmatizing or blaming people for contracting the infection could potentially backfire.”

It comes as Boris Johnson has said the coronavirus blocking will be relaxed in time as ‘Happy Monday’ looms – but the freedom warned ‘depends on going right’.

The prime minister will start relaxing restrictions in two days, as the ‘rule of six’ returns and outdoor sports are allowed. But people were socializing early today, especially in London’s Borough Market, which was packed.

Researchers from the University of Kent and Leeds Beckett University said there is a link between feelings of shame and ignoring social distance guidelines.  Pictured, a sign to encourage people to social distance in London

Researchers from the University of Kent and Leeds Beckett University said there is a link between feelings of shame and ignoring social distance guidelines.  Pictured, a sign to encourage people to social distance in London

Researchers from the University of Kent and Leeds Beckett University said there is a link between feelings of shame and ignoring social distance guidelines. Pictured, a sign to encourage people to social distance in London

Johnson said he can’t see anything in the data to stop him from continuing on his roadmap, which would mean there will be no more curbs as of June 21.

He added: “I’ll be able to hit the streets and gently, but irreversibly, I’m going to have a pint of beer at the pub.”

But he urged people to remain vigilant, adding that there are still unanswered questions about the impact the third Covid wave engulfing Europe would have on the UK.

Britain today reported 58 more deaths from the coronavirus – the lowest rate on Saturday in six months – bringing the number of people who died within 28 days of a positive test to 126,573.

Another 4,715 people have tested positive for the disease, down 16 percent from last Saturday’s figure of 5,587, totaling 4,329,180.

People flocked to Borough Market in central London this afternoon, soaking up the sunshine in the capital, awaiting the relaxation of restrictions on 'Happy Monday'

People flocked to Borough Market in central London this afternoon, soaking up the sunshine in the capital, awaiting the relaxation of restrictions on 'Happy Monday'

People flocked to Borough Market in central London this afternoon, soaking up the sunshine in the capital, awaiting the relaxation of restrictions on ‘Happy Monday’

The popular market in central London was teeming with customers on Saturday afternoons - with these stalls looking particularly busy

The popular market in central London was teeming with customers on Saturday afternoons - with these stalls looking particularly busy

The popular market in central London was teeming with customers on Saturday afternoons – with these stalls looking particularly busy

A week ago, 96 deaths were recorded, which means that the number of fatalities has dropped by 40 percent in seven days.

Yesterday, 694,959 new vaccinations – both first and second dose – were registered in the UK, slightly lower than last Friday’s figure of 711,156 injections, according to government data.

Mr Johnson acknowledged that the cases could spiral again as restrictions are relaxed, with the order to ‘stay local’ in Wales ending and larger outdoor gatherings allowed in England from Monday.

But he said the “main difference” this time around is that the rise in prevalence “needs to be limited enough” by the successful rollout of vaccines.

Meanwhile, the weary British flouted caution and left their homes when the temperature started to rise today.

Families, joggers and weightlifters flocked to parks and beaches across the country for temperatures of 52F (11C) as the UK braced for near record 76F (24C) heat next week.

Ahead of the relaxation of restrictions on “ Happy Monday, ” police chiefs warned the public to remain vigilant, saying next week is not the end of the restraint on freedom.

Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs Council, said complacency risks spreading new Covid variants and could lead to new rules.