Singapore

More people in Singapore concerned about catching the virus: Poll

Poll: 72% worry about catching Covid-19; 76% say they have felt sad or depressed since pandemic began

As Covid-19 cases climb, concerns about catching the virus are growing among people here.

Nearly half of those polled in an online survey of 1,000 respondents have cut back on physical activities. Some 73 per cent dine out less often.

All this has come at a cost to mental health, with 76 per cent of the respondents saying they have felt sad or depressed since the pandemic began.

As the pandemic rolls on, a good number of people polled also say they are willing to put up with the trade-offs that measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 entail, such as longer waiting times for hospital treatment for non-urgent and non-Covid-related care.

But the measures they are least willing to put up with are those that impact their social life, such as limits on the size of household gatherings and dining in food and beverage (F&B) establishments in groups of no more than five, according to the survey commissioned by The Straits Times and conducted by market research firm Milieu Insight.

The poll, which is representative of the Singapore population 16 years old and above by age, gender and ethnicity, was conducted from last Monday to Wednesday, ahead of the latest round of tightened measures which were announced on Friday and kicked in yesterday.

Compared with a similar survey conducted in August last year, the proportion of those who fear catching the virus has grown, from 37 to 72 per cent.

These concerns come in the wake of a sharp spike in cases here, with the daily number rising to more than 1,000 over the past week and the number of people in intensive care units climbing from eight on Sept 13 to 27 as at last night.

When asked what measures they are most willing to tolerate or live with, those surveyed indicated measures such as mandatory mask wearing (67 per cent) and working from home (54 per cent).

They are least willing to live with limits on the size of household gatherings (54 per cent) and dining in F&B establishments (50 per cent).

Overall, almost half (45 per cent) are willing to live with the restrictions for as long as necessary, and 36 per cent are willing to live with the curbs for another year.

The poll also revealed 42 per cent of people here are willing to wait longer for their turn to receive in-patient non-urgent care at hospitals, if beds are filled up by Covid-19 patients.

Fifty-two per cent of those polled are willing to do the same for outpatient non-urgent care.

More than half of those surveyed approved of the Government's handling of the pandemic, with 53 per cent saying it has managed the crisis well or very well.

Forty-three per cent felt it has been decisive or very decisive in its planning and actions to mitigate the outbreak while 64 per cent felt the situation here has been well or very well managed, compared with other countries.

CRITICAL ROLE

Professor Dale Fisher, a senior infectious diseases consultant at National University Hospital, said Singaporeans recognise the critical role they play in fighting the pandemic, in addition to trusting the authorities' instructions.

"(The instructions) are based on the best available evidence and have translated into good results," he said, adding that trust has to be earned through consistency, empathy, clear messaging and a resolve to do what is right.

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