The majority (81%) of Singaporeans are afraid of coronavirus infection, but one third (35%) said they would still attend an important event regardless if they had developed mild symptoms earlier that day, according to a recent survey from The Straits Times.
Following the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level was raised from yellow to orange on 7 February, The Straits Times partnered with market research company Nexus Link to conduct the survey, in hopes to better understand the public’s perception of and response to the virus outbreak.
The door-to-door survey was conducted with 401 households that represented Singapore’s various residence types, age groups, ethnicity, and gender. It was carried out for three days, started from 8 February.
When it comes to the authorities’ advice for the sick individuals to stay at home, 34.9 per cent of respondents said they would attend an important event regardless if they had developed symptoms like a sore throat or a slight cough in the morning, the survey revealed.
Of those 34.9 per cent respondents, most (62.5%) of them are aged between 15 to 29 years old, while other respondents are aged 30 to 49 (35.2%) and aged 50 and above (27.1%).
Nexus Link’s chief methodologist Dr Jack Loo said the focus should be on the younger group which seems to be oblivious to the perils of the virus infection.
According to the survey findings, the two groups – 30 to 49 years old (58%); and 50 years old and above (50.8%) groups – were more likely to stay indoors amid the outbreak, compared to those aged 15 to 29 years old which only 31.3 per cent said they were doing so.
The survey also found that women (85.9%) were more worried about getting infected with the virus compared to men (75.5%).
In fact, women were more likely to have stockpiled medical supplies and groceries, and wear masks outdoors despite not being sick, while men were more likely to feel they were prepared for the outbreak.
Meanwhile, more than half (68.6%) of the respondents said they would avoid areas that a confirmed case had visited, while less than half (31.2%) would advise others on public transport to wear a mask or seek medical help if they appeared to look sick.
“Those married with children under the age of 13 were the most likely to do this, with 41.6 per cent saying they would encourage such social responsibility,” the survey revealed. “Only 32.9 per cent of singles, and 22.6 per cent of those married with no pre-teen children, said they would do the same.”
In terms of sources of information, most of the respondents found out about the outbreak from television (69.8%), social media (66.1%) and messaging application (59.9%). Some gained information about the outbreak from the newspapers (49.1%) and the Health Ministry’s website (43.1%).
When asked if they were confident with the Government’s ability to tackle the virus outbreak situation, most (80.8%) of the respondents said they were confident.
“The high level of transparency exemplified by the Government over the past few weeks has also translated to higher levels of trust in the Government,” said Dr Loo.