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GCC residents see Coronavirus as major threat: YouGov

DUBAI, February 27, 2020

The majority (89 per cent) of residents in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are familiar with Coronavirus, and six in ten (59 per cent) consider it to be a major threat to public health in their country, said market research and data analytics firm YouGov.

Sixty-seven per cent of the respondents from Saudi Arabia to the YouGov survey are more likely to consider corona virus as a major threat in their area of residence, followed by people in Kuwait (61 per cent) and UAE (52 per cent).

People in Asian and GCC nations are substantially more likely to feel threatened by the disease than Europeans and Americans. In Asia-Pacific and the GCC region the majority (58 per cent to 77 per cent) consider the virus a major threat (with Australia an exception at 37 per cent). In the nine European countries surveyed this figure ranges only from 7 per cent to 28 per cent, while in the USA it stands at 27 per cent.

People in Europe and the US report lower levels of familiarity with the ailment as compared to those from the GCC region. Awareness within the Asia-Pacific region- which is the most heavily afflicted- seems to be varied.

Respondents in the Philippines seem especially aware of the virus, with 68 per cent saying they are “very familiar” with it and a further 28 per cent feeling “somewhat familiar”.

 At the opposite end of the spectrum is Thailand, where only 27 per cent report being very familiar with the disease, and a further 32 per cent somewhat familiar.

In China, the source of the outbreak, 43 per cent say they are very familiar and a further 44 per cent somewhat familiar. In nearby Hong Kong and Singapore, however, only 21 per cent and 33 per cent respectively, feel very familiar and between 53 per cent and 55 per cent somewhat familiar.

The threat of the virus has become a global concern. Unsurprisingly people in China are most likely to think that coronavirus is a threat to public health in their own country.

In addition, in almost every country and region surveyed people are more likely to see coronavirus as a major threat globally than at home, with the exception of two places where this is not the case: China and Hong Kong. The 69 per cent of Chinese people who see the disease as a major threat anywhere in the world is eight points lower than the 77 per cent who see it as a major threat nationally. In Hong Kong the difference is between 71 per cent and 68 per cent.

Recently, the World Health Organisation listed some recommendations for people to protect themselves and others from getting infected. Overall, fewer than two-thirds of GCC residents are already taking these precautionary measures to safeguards themselves against the disease.

Sixty-five per cent maintain personal hygiene by washing their hands regularly, and almost as many (61 per cent) maintain social distance by refraining from visiting crowded areas. Many avoid close contact with people who are sick (58 per cent) and cover their nose and mouth while coughing (52 per cent). Comparatively, fewer people avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands (46 per cent) although it is one of the top recommendations by the health authorities.

 The Coronavirus has become a subject of discussion worldwide ever since it was first detected in 2019. Having started in Wuhan province in China, the disease has since spread to more than 35 countries outside China, claiming more than 2,700 lives globally, as per WHO reports.

YouGov’s international study conducted among more than 27,000 people in 23 countries and regions captures the sentiments of people and the differing attitude to the disease. Even though the coronavirus outbreak has been the most significant international news story for the past two months, familiarity with the disease is not evenly spread. – TradeArabia News Service




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