One in five primary school children are afraid to leave their homes

One in five primary school aged children are afraid to leave their homes during the coronavirus pandemic, Oxford University study reveals

  • Researchers are assessing the impact of Covid-19 on children’s mental health 
  • Some children said they are afraid of running out of food at their homes
  • Others have said they are afraid of passing on the disease to their friends 
  • Oxford University researchers spoke with 1,500 parents during the survey  
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

One in five primary school children are afraid to leave their homes as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, new research has revealed. 

The researchers also found that many children are afraid that they will not have enough food to eat at home as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown. 

Scientists at the University of Oxford are seeking to assess the impact the unusual situation is having on the mental health of children. 

One in five primary school children are afraid to leave their homes as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, new research has revealed

Children have admitted to their parents that they are afraid of  leaving their house 

According to the Guardian, preliminary findings suggest that younger children are more worried about the situation than those aged between 11 and 16. 

More than half of younger children are worried that a friend or a relative might pick up the virus. 

The researchers questioned 1,500 parents who revealed one-third of their children were concerned about catching the disease. Almost a quarter feared passing on the virus while two fifths were worried about missing school work.  

Other research has found that more than three million people in Great Britain may have gone hungry during the first three weeks of the coronavirus lockdown, a charity estimates.

Around 6 per cent of 4,343 adults polled by YouGov said someone in their household has gone hungry during the first three weeks of lockdown.

Scaled up to reflect mid-year population estimates for Great Britain, this equates to more than three million people not having enough to eat, the Food Foundation said.

The charity commissioned the survey along with the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission (FFCC).

The survey also found that 3 per cent of respondents – the equivalent of 1.5 million people – said they had gone a whole day without eating since the lockdown started.

And 2 per cent – the equivalent of more than one million Britons – said they had lost all their income as a result of the crisis.

They are calling for the Government to establish a national food aid task force led by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

This would help local authorities scale up welfare assistance schemes and provide food parcels for people who are self-isolating.

And the task force would work with supermarkets, businesses and volunteers to improve home delivery options.

They are also calling for the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure people have enough money for food by abolishing the five-week wait for Universal Credit payments.

Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation, said: ‘We cannot rely on food banks to support the millions of people who need emergency food aid during this crisis: it is too big a problem, and urgently requires substantial investment from central government.

‘The Government must put money in the pockets of families who can’t afford food, and support local authorities to scale up the food response for those who are self-isolating so they can secure enough food to sustain themselves and their children. Other countries are doing this, so can we.’

Sue Pritchard, FFCC director, said: ‘It’s taken a pandemic to reveal just how fragile our food system is for many people.’

She added: ‘We need urgent action now, so that people do not go hungry, whilst farmers are having to throw away produce. This is a long-term problem that needs serious, substantial and radical change.’

Dr Rachel Loopstra, lecturer in Nutrition at King’s College London, said: ‘These figures, based on a three-week window of time, are 1.5-two times higher than what we usually see when we survey about experiences of hunger covering a 12-month period.

‘They suggest the Covid-19 lockdown has had a swift and devastating impact on the population’s ability to access sufficient food, both for economic reasons and because of self-isolation.’


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