Nearly a fifth of adults are failing to socially distance, with most people in local lockdown areas citing a loss of freedom as their main concern. 

On Friday, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its weekly figures on the social impact of Covid-19, covering the period from October 7-11.

Researchers found that, of those who have met up with people from outside their household either outdoors or indoors, 82 per cent said they always or often maintained social distancing. 

That means almost a fifth of adults are failing to keep to guidance that urges people to stay two metres apart in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. The ONS found the total proportion of those who said they did so sometimes, not very often or never had stayed fairly consistent over the last three months, remaining at 17 per cent this week.

The data also reflects the “rule of six” on social gathering, limiting the number of those from different households who are able to meet to no more than six. 

The rule is now part of the Government’s three-tier system, applying indoors and outdoors in the lowest-risk tier and outdoors in the higher two, in which people from different households are not allowed to mix indoors.

The ONS found that around 64 per cent of adults strongly support or tend to support the “rule of six”. This support was higher among those aged 70 and over, at 79 per cent. Around half of adults (56 per cent) reported that they felt the measure is very simple or simple. The figures are similar to last week, when they stood at 64 per cent, 80 per cent and 56 per cent.

At the start of the month, the ONS published data which showed that the number of adults leaving home to socialise with others in a personal place – for example visiting family or friends at their homes – had fallen from 30 per cent to 20 per cent.

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