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Loneliness has peaked this month across UK, new data shows

Spike follows end of daylight savings time and return to national lockdown

Vincent Wood
Wednesday 18 November 2020 11:45 GMT
A person walks past a social distancing sign near the High Street in Winchester, Hampshire
A person walks past a social distancing sign near the High Street in Winchester, Hampshire (PA)

Loneliness in the UK rose to the highest levels recorded during the nation’s coronavirus outbreak towards the end of October, according to official data.

The Office of National Statistics, which has surveyed the public on feelings of isolation since March, found one in twelve respondents described themselves as always or often lonely between 28 October and 1 November.

Meanwhile 18 per cent said they feel lonely some of the time as social distancing bites down on people’s ability to interact with others.

The finding came after Daylight Savings Time ended on 25 October, leaving the nights to draw in sooner as the outbreak rolls into the winter months.

The spike also accompanied the run up to the Prime Minister’s announcement that the nation would return to a nationwide lockdown for a second time to limit the spread of the virus, which was first reported by doctors on 17 November 2019.

The data revealed the highest spike in reports of acute loneliness in the UK was reported between 20 and 30 March, when the nation’s first lockdown was introduced.

Acute loneliness was particularly high among the young - with 12 per cent of 16 to 29 year olds  reporting they were often or always lonely compared to 8 per cent of 30 to 59 year olds and 4 per cent of the over 60s.

Women meanwhile were more likely to report feelings of loneliness than men - with 9 per cent of female respondents describing feelings of acute loneliness compared to six per cent of males.

And 13 per cent of those with health conditions that put them at increased risk of a serious Covid-19 infection said they had felt acute loneliness.

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