Survey Findings on Views about COVID-19 Released by Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK
As the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) spread around the world recently, the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) conducted a telephone survey from 19 to 23 March 2020 asking the public their views on related matters. The survey results found that nearly 80% of the citizen were worried to varying degrees that they would be infected with the disease. Regarding the policies against the epidemic, 95.1% of the respondents supported or strongly supported that all people entering Hong Kong needed to undergo the 14-day compulsory quarantine and medical surveillance measures.
The survey results showed that 78.8% of the respondents were worried to varying degrees that they would be infected with COVID-19, of which 45.2% were somewhat worried, 20.1% were quite worried, and 13.5% were very worried. Only 20.5% of the respondents were not worried at all. According to 67.0% of the respondents, the current (March) outbreak had worsened in comparison to that of the previous month (February), with only 8.1% feeling that the outbreak had eased and 23.0% believing that it was about the same.
The survey also found that 95.1% of the respondents supported or strongly supported that all people entering Hong Kong had to undergo the 14-day compulsory quarantine and medical surveillance measures; 96.0% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed to increase the penalties for those who dishonestly filed health declaration forms or violated compulsory quarantine measures.
Besides, 71.5% of the respondents thought that the government’s measures in response to the epidemic were insufficient or very insufficient, and only 23.6% said that it was sufficient or very sufficient. Regarding the government’s performance in monitoring the epidemic, 60.5% of the respondents thought it was quite bad or very bad, and 25.5% thought it was quite good or very good.
Concerning those measures taken by individuals to prevent infection, 95.4% of the respondents said that they often wore masks when going out, 85.9% often washed their hands with liquid soap or hand sanitisers, and 61.2% often cleaned their homes with disinfectants. Compared with the situation of last month (February), 53.5% of the respondents said that they dined out less, 38.0% said they dined out almost the same, and only 8.1% said they dined out more. With regard to gathering with relatives and friends, 61.6% of the respondents said that they had fewer gatherings compared to February, 35.3% responded that it was about the same, and only 2.7% said they had more gatherings. Similarly, regarding shopping, 59.7% of the respondents said they went out less for shopping, 34.9% said there was no difference from last month, and only 4.8% answered that they did more shopping. With respect to the frequency of hiking, 52.3% of the respondents stated that it was about the same, 33.4% said they went out less for hiking, and 13.5% answered that they hiked more often.
When the respondents were asked whether they were less alert, more alert or about the same to epidemic prevention in comparison with the previous month (February), 78.8% said they were about the same, 15.4% thought they were more alert, and only 5.6% felt that they were less alert. However, when they were asked about the general public’s attitudes towards epidemic prevention in Hong Kong, 44.6% of the respondents thought that people were less alert compared with last month (February), 39.4% said they were about the same, and only 13.9% thought that they were more alert.
Lastly, the survey also found that 63.5% of the respondents said that the number of masks stored in their home was sufficient or very sufficient, and 32.6% considered the amount was insufficient or very insufficient. 79.6% of the respondents said that the amount of disinfection and cleaning supplies stored in their home to be sufficient or very sufficient. 18.9% considered the amount stored to be either insufficient or very insufficient.
In this survey, a total of 518 respondents aged 18 or above were successfully interviewed, with a response rate of 39.8%. The sampling error is estimated at plus or minus 4.30 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
 The survey was carried out before the government’s announcement of new measures on 27 March that prohibits group gatherings of more than 4 people in public places. Therefore, it cannot reflect the impacts of these measures.