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Impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on lifestyle


The proportion of adults reporting always or often maintaining social distancing (46%, 25 August to 5 September 2021) was stable in the latest wave having previously decreased as restrictions eased. Approximately 3% of adults reported self-isolating in the past seven days (25 August to 5 September). The most common reasons for self-isolating were testing positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) (31%), having symptoms (21%) or having been in contact with someone who tested positive (20%).

The seven-day average number of UK daily flights has increased by 151% (week ending 12 September 2021) since May 2021, when international travel was allowed to resume.

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Travel

The seven-day average number of UK daily flights has more than doubled since May 2021, when international travel was allowed to resume

In the week ending 12 September 2021, the seven-day average number of UK daily flights was 3,579, broadly unchanged from the previous week (3,589). The average number of UK daily flights in the latest week was at 54% and 128% of the levels seen in the equivalent week of 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The seven-day average number of UK daily flights has increased by 151% since the week ending 23 May 2021, the week that international travel was allowed to resume and the UK government implemented the travel traffic light system (17 May 2021).

Last updated: 16/09/2021

Read more about this in Economic activity and social change in the UK, real-time indicators

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Most UK travellers found following COVID-19 restrictions abroad difficult

  • The majority of UK (64%) and overseas residents (68%) who arrived in the UK said that social distancing made them feel safe during their journey (July 2021).
  • Around two thirds of UK and overseas residents said that wearing face coverings made them feel safe during their journey.
  • Over half of UK (53%), and 61% of overseas residents thought a COVID-19 test was very important for safety, but this had decreased since February.
  • Most UK residents found it either difficult (48%) or very difficult (36%) to follow overseas COVID-19 restrictions; conversely, the majority of overseas residents arriving into the UK felt they understood the restrictions quite well (26%) or very well (69%).

Last updated: 06/09/2021

Read more about this in Attitudes towards COVID-19 among passengers arriving into the UK: February to July 2021

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Data collected from 12 to 17 July 2021 show that the majority (83%) of adults arriving in England from an amber list country fully adhered to coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine requirements. At that time, all individuals arriving from an amber list country were required to quarantine for 10 days unless they had a job which qualified for travel exemptions or they opted into the voluntary Test to Release scheme.

Around 9 in 10 respondents (91%) also took the required day two and day eight coronavirus tests. Overall, 77% of respondents fully adhered to both quarantine and coronavirus testing requirements.

Last updated: 02/09/2021

Read more about this in Coronavirus and quarantine after arriving in England from an amber country: 12 to 17 July 2021

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Impact on everyday life

Sporting events and festivals were the most common places people reported being asked for proof of COVID-19 status

Percentage of adults who had been asked to prove COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test by venue, Great Britain, 25 August to 5 September 2021

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There are proposals in England and Scotland for people who want to go to nightclubs and busy indoor venues to show proof of either a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test or that they have been vaccinated, otherwise known as “vaccine passports”.

Around 1 in 10 of all adults (11%) across Great Britain reported having already been asked to show proof that they have either been vaccinated, or that they have recently tested negative, to be allowed into a venue or event (25 August to 5 September 2021). Of those who had been asked for proof, 22% had been asked for it at a sports venue and 20% had been asked at a festival.

Last updated: 10/09/2021

Read more about this in One in ten adults report being asked for Covid-19 vaccination or test proof

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Compliance with COVID-19 guidance

Under half of adults reported social distancing

Percentage of adults always/often maintaining social distancing when meeting up with people outside their household, February to September 2021, Great Britain

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The percentage of adults reporting always or often maintaining social distancing (46%, 25 August to 5 September) remained stable in the latest wave, having previously decreased as restrictions eased. This figure is now around half of what it was in mid-February (91%, 10 to 14 February 2021).

Last updated: 10/09/2021

Read more about this in Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain

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Approximately 3% of adults reported self-isolating in the past seven days (25 August to 5 September).

Testing positive for COVID-19 was the most common reason for self-isolation (31%), followed by having COVID-19 symptoms (21%) and being in contact with someone who tested positive (20%).

Last updated: 10/09/2021

Read more about this in Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain

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Majority self-isolate after coronavirus (COVID-19) contact

9 to 16 August 2021, England
  • Almost 9 in 10 (88%) of those required to self-isolate after being in contact with a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) case followed isolation requirements throughout the full self-isolation period; this has remained stable since early June but is a decrease from 93% seen during the 4 to 8 May period. 

  • Compliance was higher among those who fully understood self-isolation requirements (91%), compared with those who did not (77%). 

  • Just over a third (37%) reported that self-isolation had a negative effect on their well-being and mental health, and 31% reported having lost income because of self-isolation.

Last updated: 08/09/2021

Read more about this in Coronavirus and self-isolation after being in contact with a positive case in England: 9 to 16 August 2021

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Two-thirds of adults still plan to wear masks in shops and on public transport

Question: When coronavirus (COVID-19) rules end, which of these, if any, do you think you will still do? Adults in Great Britain, 7 to 11 July 2021

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Two-thirds (64%) of adults say they plan to continue to cover their faces in shops, following the lifting of most coronavirus (COVID-19) legal restrictions in England from 19 July 2021. The same percentage (64%) plan to continue to wear masks on public transport, while 60% plan to avoid crowded places.

Behaviours such as mask wearing in shops and on public transport will likely be lowest among younger people, with 51% of those aged 16 to 29 years saying they plan to do so in either setting.

Last updated: 16/07/2021

Read more about this in Two thirds of adults still plan to wear masks in shops and on public transport

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Further information


This page provides an overview of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, bringing together data from multiple sources. Each graphic provides a link to explore the topic further. See the more information page to read about different data sources used in the tool.

The tool is updated regularly when relevant data are published. This is typically at least twice a week, for example:

  • when weekly deaths registrations are published (usually on a Tuesday)

  • when results from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, and Opinions and Lifestyle Survey are published (usually on a Friday)

Daily updates on COVID-19 levels and vaccinations can be found on GOV.UK.

Some policy areas are devolved and more information is available for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

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Contact

Latest insights team
infection.survey.analysis@ons.gov.uk