Of the 800 people who took part, a quarter had significantly elevated anxiety and depression, exacerbated by lockdown and isolation.

Almost 15% of participants reached clinical levels of health anxiety, which means a fear of contracting a serious illness despite medical reassurance.

This is triple what’s considered to be the normal level of clinical health anxiety in the population.

Reaching clinical levels means their health anxiety had become distressing and was likely to be causing preoccupation and disruption to normal activities.

Participants who classed themselves as “vulnerable” according to government categories reported twice the rates of health-related anxiety than the general population.