Home U.K UK 'individualistic take' on Covid slowed down response to pandemic 'Same with...

UK 'individualistic take' on Covid slowed down response to pandemic 'Same with vaccine'


An anthropologist has claimed Britons have more of an “individualised take” on Covid compared to people in Asia. Speaking to Times Radio, medical anthropologist Helen Lambert from Bristol University explained how fundamental cultural differences in approach to Covid have been seen throughout the pandemic and led to a slower reaction by Britons in taking up measures compared to people in Asia. 

She pointed to differences in attitude towards public health in Asia as opposed to the UK where Britons have a “lack of attention to the potential altruism” involved in acts that would benefit wider public health.

Ms Lambert was asked by Times Radio host Alexis Conran if perceptions of the risk of the virus vary from culture to culture.

She replied: “Yes, I think they do, and I guess that’s probably why I mentioned this issue on this rather individualised take on things in the UK.

“And a lack of attention to the potential altruism involved in doing things that are of public health benefit.”

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She went on to explain how a study she was involved in with Public Health England found people coming from countries like China and Taiwan “were very much more risk-averse than in the UK at that time” adding how people from the Far East were tending to wear masks on the flight and self-isolating on arrival though rules did not enforce that at the time.

Ms Lambert added: “And I think although we have now adopted those measures subsequently because of course, we have learnt what happens with Covid when you don’t”

She said Brits “still have a rather individualistic take on these things”

She pointed to fundamental differences in cultural attitudes in Britain towards public health where she says there is more of an attitude of “‘I’m wearing a mask to protect myself’ rather than protect others.”

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The medic added how a similar attitude was seen with vaccines where Britons have a stance of “‘I need a vaccine because that’s going to avoid me getting covid’ rather than that it will also reduce transmission and reduce the likelihood of anyone around me, including my loved ones being affected.”

Her comments come as Britain is set to reopen on Monday 12th April after a lengthy lockdown.

Pubs, hairdressers and non-essential retail will reopen as Britons long for a pint and a days shooping.

Gyms, swimming pools, campsites and holiday lets can also re-open while weddings and funeral wakes can have up to 15 guests.


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Meanwhile, in Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is calling for another national lockdown as Covid cases continue to rise.

The country is struggling to tackle a third wave of the pandemic and several regional leaders have called for a short, sharp lockdown while the country tries to vaccinate more people.

Speaking on Wednesday Ms Merkel’s spokesman Ulrike Demmer said: “Every call for a short, uniform lockdown is right” and she added Germany was seeing a growing number of intensive care patients.

Referring to the number of cases over seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, she said: “We need a stable incidence below 100”, the rate is currently 110.1, according to the Robert Koch Institute.


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