According to the latest national engagement survey conducted by Public Health Wales, nearly half (46 percent) of people are very or extremely concerned about children catching Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in schools and spreading it in their families and communities.
People’s views on the risks posed by children returning to school vary between communities. Those living in poorer areas are more worried about children becoming ill from catching Coronavirus (53 percent) and spreading it to others (52 percent) than those in the most affluent areas (30 percent and 38 percent). Over four in ten respondents are also very or extremely concerned that children’s education (41 percent) or social and emotional development (44 percent) may be damaged by schools returning to normal too slowly.
The latest Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) public engagement survey report from Public Health Wales covers the period of 22 June to 28 June, when 605 people were surveyed.
The survey also showed nearly a quarter (23 percent) of the public in Wales have found their financial situation to have worsened as a result of coronavirus restrictions. Young adults between 18 and 29 years of age were the most likely (38 percent) to report this compared with only 12% of 70+ year olds.
Each week, Public Health Wales conducts interviews with hundreds of people aged 18 or over across Wales, to understand how Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the measures being used to prevent its spread are affecting the physical, mental and social wellbeing of people in Wales.
The proportion of people worrying about their own mental health and wellbeing continues to reduce, with those often or always feeling isolated down from last week (22 percent) to just 12%.
Professor Mark Bellis, Director of Policy and International Health at Public Health Wales said:
“As we continue our careful journey out of Coronavirus restrictions, it is not surprising that different individuals favour different paces of change. People living in more deprived communities are more likely to have existing health conditions that make them especially vulnerable to the virus as well as friends and relatives with similar health problems. Naturally, such individuals can favour a slower relaxation of Coronavirus restrictions. Our results show how differences in vulnerability to Coronavirus may result in some communities having greater concerns about children returning to school and other services reopening.
“Across the whole population however, we are seeing increases in the number of people prepared for lockdown measures to be eased, even while some risks of infection remain. Sadly, we are also seeing some of the broader consequences of Coronavirus measures emerging, with 38% of 18-29 year olds already reporting that they are financially worse off as a result of the restrictions put in place.”
The survey is part of a raft of measures implemented by Public Health Wales to support public health and wellbeing through Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Other measures include Public Health Wales’ ‘How are you doing?’ wellbeing campaign, created to support the people of Wales to look after their wellbeing and to ensure public health is protected during this period.
As part of the campaign, Public Health Wales are maintaining a microsite, which hosts a wealth of information offering practical support for people as well as useful links to charities and support groups for people who are feeling overwhelmed by the current situation.