9 June 2020

Survey Findings on Views about COVID-19
Released by Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at CUHK



Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, the lifestyle of many people has changed as well. A telephone survey conducted by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) revealed that if work from home became the norm, 67.1% of the respondents would accept it. About 71.7% would accept online shopping or meal delivery became the norm. In addition, the survey also found that about 81.1% of the respondents thought that epidemics such as COVID-19 would occur from time to time in the future.

The survey was conducted in the evening from 20 to 28 May 2020[1] and a total of 732 people aged 18 or above were successfully interviewed. The results showed that if work from home became the norm, 67.1% of the respondents would accept it, while only 25.5% would not. If online shopping or meal delivery was the norm, 71.7% said they would accept it, while only 20.1% said they would not. If online video communication, instead of in-person meetings, became the norm, 48.8% would accept it; 44.2% said they would not. If online classes became the norm, 37.4% said they would accept it; 53.8% said they would not.

The survey also found that 81.1% of respondents believed that viral outbreaks such as  COVID-19 would occur from time to time in the future, with only 7.4% had the opposite view, while 11.5% said they did not know or it was difficult to tell.

On economic aspects, 71.0% of the respondents were worried or very worried about a recession in Hong Kong, and only 25.0% said they were neither worried nor very worried. Nearly half (48.6%) of the respondents indicated that their household income had been reduced due to the epidemic. Compared with the same series of surveys conducted in April, the results were not much different. The statistical significance test (chi-square test) also showed that there was no significant difference in the percentage distribution of the April and May surveys. At the same time, 47.5% of the respondents were worried or very worried that they or their family members would lose their jobs because of the epidemic, a drop of 2.8 percentage points from the April survey; 48.5% were not worried or very worried, an increase of 6.2 percentage points from the April survey. The chi-square test showed that the percentage distributions of the two surveys were statistically significant.

Regarding the government’s performance in controlling the epidemic, 58.0% of the respondents considered it was not so good or not good at all, and 32.1% thought it was quite good or very good. Not much difference was found in comparison to the April survey. The chi-squire test also revealed that the differences in the results of the two surveys were not statistically significant. In addition, 38.2% of the respondents believed that the government’s response to the epidemic was sufficient or very sufficient, which was an increase of 5.0 percentage points from the April survey. 55.8% of them thought that it was insufficient or very insufficient, a decrease of 7.2 percentage points from the April survey. A comparison of the two survey results using the chi-square test also found that the differences were statistically significant.

The survey also found that the respondents were generally less worried about the epidemic. 72.4% of the respondents believed that the epidemic had eased compared with the previous month (April), a significant increase of 16.2 percentage points from the April survey. Only 2.9% of them thought that the epidemic had worsened, a 5.5 percentage point decrease from the April survey. About 23.5% felt that it was about the same, a drop of 9.2 percentage points from the April survey. The chi-square test showed that the differences in the percentage distributions of the two surveys were statistically significant. Furthermore, the percentage of people who were worried that they could be infected with COVID-19 had also declined. About 6.7% of the respondents were very worried, which was 1.6 percentage points lower than that of the last survey. Some 15.0% were quite worried, a decrease of 3.7 percentage points from the April survey. 44.4% said that they were somewhat worried, which was 2.8 percentage points lower than the last survey. 32.5% were not worried at all, which was 7.8 percentage points higher than the April survey. The chi-square test also found that the percentage distribution of the two surveys in May and April were significantly different.

In terms of the attitudes towards epidemic prevention, 55.1% of the respondents believed that Hong Kong citizens were less vigilant compared with last month (April), an increase of 10.5 percentage points from the previous survey. About 37.0% said that it was about the same, a slight decrease of 0.4 percentage points from the April survey. Only 6.0% felt that people were more vigilant, a drop of 9.1 percentage points from the last survey. The chi-square test showed that the differences in the results of the two surveys were statistically significant.

Regarding those health precautionary measures taken by individuals, 18.9% of the respondents have shopped more compared with last month (April), a significant increase of 10.5 percentage points from the April survey. 34.4% said they shopped less, a significant decrease of 26.0 percentage points from the April survey. 45.9% said they shopped about the same, an increase of 15.0 percentage points from the April survey. The chi-square test found that the percentage differences of the two survey results were statistically significant. In addition, 15.6% of the respondents indicated that they had more gatherings with relatives and friends than last month, which was a marked increase of 13.2 percentage points from the April survey. 36.9% said they had fewer gatherings, a sharp decrease of 27.2 percentage points from the previous survey, and 46.4% answered that it was almost the same, an increase of 13.6 percentage points from the April survey. The chi-square test showed that the differences between the results of the two surveys were statistically significant.

Concerning personal anti-infection measures, 94.5% of the respondents said that they often wore masks when they went out, 82.8% often washed their hands with liquid soap or hand sanitizers, and 53.8% often cleaned their homes with disinfectants. In comparison with the April 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 732 respondents aged 18 or above were successfully interviewed, with a response rate of 36.6%. The sampling error is estimated at plus or minus 3.62 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.


[1] After the completion of survey, a number of confirmed cases occurred in the Kerry Logistics Warehouse and Lek Yuen Estate in Sha Tin in early June. Therefore, the results of the survey may fail to reflect the impact of the outbreak of this small cluster.