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ONS sets up new online surveys for coronavirus


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has set up two new online surveys on the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

It said the move has been made to help it understand the effects of the virus on society and the economy.

One has been built on the ONS Opinions and Lifestyles survey with a coronavirus module to monitor public understanding and the impact on daily life. Ian Bell, the deputy national statistician, said it was designed and launched within a week with input from senior analysts, statisticians and decision-makers across government.

He said the first wave attracted over 1,500 responses.

The second survey has covered the business impact of the coronavirus and is being used to collect information on the financial and operational performance of businesses through the pandemic. This is wholly new and was delivered and recorded more than 4,500 responses over two weeks.

Both referred largely to the period before the lockdown began on 23 March, and Bell said that ONS is repeating the surveys to build on the baseline.

Among the initial findings is that:

  • 86% of people have been worried that someone in their family could be infected;

  • only 51% had someone offering to bring food or other essentials if needed;

  • 29% of businesses had to reduce staff numbers in the short term;

  • 40% of businesses were confident they could continue operating.

“What this has also shown us, is that now, more than ever, surveys are vitally important to gauge public mood and opinion and the impact on business,” Bell said.

Image from verkeorg, CC BY-SA 2.0

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