Survey Findings on Views about COVID-19 Released by Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK
A recent telephone survey conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) found that about 70% of the respondents estimated that the COVID-19 would still had a high or very high chance of breaking out from time to time before the year end. If the epidemic broke out from time to time, nearly 90% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the measure to wear masks in public places has to be implemented until the end of the year. In addition, about 20% of the respondents indicated that they would participate in the Universal Community Testing Programme for COVID-19 launched by the government.
The survey was conducted in the evening from 20 to 26 August 2020 by using a dual-frame (landline and mobile phone numbers) sampling design, and a total of 717 Hong Kong citizens aged 18 or above were successfully interviewed (Landline: 364 pax; Mobile: 353 pax). The results showed that 70.5% of the respondents believed that the chance of an outbreak from time to time before the end of this year was quite high or very high. Only 15.2% of them estimated that the chance was quite low or very low. If the epidemic broke out from time to time, 88.8% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the measure to wear masks in public places should be implemented until the end of the year, and only 6.6% disagreed or strongly disagreed. However, with regard to the prohibition on group gathering in public places and the ban on dining in restaurants at night time, even if the epidemic broke out from time to time, only 47.2% and 30.8% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed to implement these measures until the end of the year.
The government recently launched the Universal Community Testing Programme for COVID-19. 20.9% of respondents said they would participate, 55.4% replied that they would not, while 23.7% said they were undecided, depending on the situation or hard to tell. 53.8% of the respondents considered this programme unnecessary or very unnecessary, and 35.8% considered it necessary or very necessary.
Regarding the government’s performance in controlling the epidemic, 62.5% of respondents thought it was quite bad or very bad, an increase of 6.5 percentage points from the same series of survey conducted in June. 28.5% felt that it was quite good or very good, a decrease of 5.6 percentage points from the June survey. The statistical significant test (Chi-square Test) also showed that the differences in percentage distribution between the two surveys were statistically significant.
Besides, 54.2% of the respondents estimated that the epidemic in the coming month should ease in comparison to the current situation. 33.1% felt that it would be about the same, and only 5.0% estimated it would worsen. 45.0% of the interviewees believed that the current anti-epidemic measures implemented by the government should remain unchanged, 23.0% advocated relaxation, and 17.3% proposed tightening. As for the main reasons for the recent outbreak, the most respondents believed that it was because there were virus carriers among the people who were exempt from quarantine (78.6%). Other reasons include: more people went out to eat and drink (51.5%), more people met with relatives and friends (49.8%), more people went to entertainment places such as theaters and karaoke (46.8%), and less people wore masks (40.2%).
In terms of the impact of the epidemic on the economy, 53.7% of the respondents said that their household income has decreased due to the epidemic, an increase of 8.1 percentage points from the survey in June, and 42.1% of them said there was no reduction, a decrease of 9.9 percentage points from the June survey. Comparing the percentage distributions of the two surveys by using the Chi-square Test also showed that statistically significant differences were found between them. In addition, 74.0% of the respondents were worried or very worried about a recession in Hong Kong. Compared with the survey conducted in June, the results were not much different. The Chi-square Test also showed that there was no significant difference in the percentage distributions of the two surveys.
With regard to people’s concern about the epidemic, 29.5% said they were not worried about being infected with COVID-19, 46.8% were somewhat worried, 14.0% were quite worried, and 8.3% were very worried. The results had not changed much from the June survey, as shown by the Chi-square Test.
Concerning personal anti-infection measures, 95.1% of the respondents said that they often wore masks when they went out, 81.3% often washed their hands with liquid soap or hand sanitisers, and 53.0% often cleaned their homes with disinfectants. In comparison with the June survey, the results of the two surveys were very similar. The Chi-square Test also showed that the differences in the percentage distributions of the two survey results were not statistically significant.
In the survey, a total of 717 respondents aged 18 or above were successfully interviewed, with a response rate of 35.9 (landline) and 37.6 (mobile phone) respectively. The sampling error is estimated at plus or minus 3.66 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. Since dual-frame sampling design was employed, the data was weighted based on the probability of the respondents being selected and relevant age-sex distribution of the population published by the Census and Statistics Department.