Corona Citizens’ survey will ask public which social restrictions should be lifted

Dr Akke Vellinga, Epidemiologist/Senior Lecturer, NUI Galway
Apr 22 2020 Posted: 08:18 IST

The second phase of the population wide survey, the Corona Citizens’ Science Project will ask the public which social restrictions they would prefer to see lifted. Phase two will launch Wednesday, April 22nd at 06.00am and will remain open for 24 hours.

The national anonymous online survey is seeking to understand how people are dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic, the associated restrictive measures (social distancing, lock-down etc)  and how it has impacted on their home life; working life; childcare arrangements and physical and emotional wellbeing.

Conducted by researchers at NUI Galway,  Dublin City University and the Insight SFI Centre for Data Analytics (NUI Galway) phase two of the survey will ask the public to rank, in order of preference which of the current restrictions they would like to see relaxed ranging from the reopening of schools, pubs and restaurants to a removal of the 2km restriction on movement.

It will also seek the views of those who have been “cocooning”, a term applying to at risk groups and those over 70 who have been asked to remain at home. It is particularly interested in hearing from people who have been caring for a vulnerable person and anyone who has had a medical procedure postponed.  

Phase one of the survey found that 26,000 people had children of primary school age, whom they were teaching at home, with 77% reporting favourably on the experience. So researchers are especially keen to hear from those who are teaching their children at home to find out how both parents and children are managing as the situation has evolved.

As preliminary findings from the first survey highlighted that younger people appear to be experiencing greater negative mental health, compared to older participants, researchers are making a direct appeal for young people nationwide to take part.

Phase one of the survey, launched on April 8th and had over 100,000 respondents with preliminary findings published on April 13th.

Dr Akke Vellinga, Epidemiologist/Senior Lecturer, NUI Galway, joint research lead said, “As phase two is now launched, we are urging people to take the opportunity to outline how their lives have been impacted during this pandemic and what are the real human costs. You can take part in the survey by logging onto the survey link, accessing it online, via Whatsapp and it will be shared on all social media channels as well.

“We particularly urge young people to join, to have their voice heard and have their say in what’s next.”

Professor Anthony Staines, Professor of Health Systems, DCU and joint research lead said, “As we move towards the May bank holiday weekend, when we expect to hear more suggestions from the Government about what to do next, this Citizen Science survey will help to understand how this affects people, and their hopes for a possible easing of restrictions.”

Findings* from phase one of the survey show that since Government restrictions were imposed* the vast majority of the general public in Ireland has adapted their behaviours in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Respondents reported that they found the recommendations made by the government to curb the spread of the virus very clear. 92% indicated an understanding of the measures around social distancing; 79% of those surveyed were clear on the guidelines around shopping. The figures were also similarly high with regards to social isolation and the advice around leisure activities.

Overall, the findings from the surveys will be used to contribute to informing the government response to the pandemic and to also assist in planning future measures for COVID-19 and beyond.


*Preliminary findings published April 13th 2020 at

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