UAE More Likely To Follow COVID-19 Precautions Than KSA: YouGov

Countries in the Middle East have started easing Coronavirus restrictions, a decision that appears to be motivated by the desire to restart some economic activity amid the global health crisis. Latest YouGov data in partnership with the Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI) at Imperial College London, looks at the steps people have personally taken across the globe to control the spread of the virus.

Melanie Leis, Director of IGHI’s Big Data and Analytical Unit, said: “During this time of crisis, openness and transparency are critical to enable timely, evidence-based responses by governments and health systems. By sharing our data, and the insights we learn from them, we hope this work can play an important role in countries’ ongoing strategies to mitigate the impact of this pandemic.”

Although the restrictions have been relaxed to some extent, precautionary measures – such as, wearing facemasks at all times when stepping outside home and availability of sanitizers at entry points within shops and malls have been made mandatory. An analysis across 23 markets between May 25th- 31st reveals that UAE residents are more likely to wear a facemask ‘always or frequently’ when outside their homes as compared to KSA residents (93% vs 78%).

While large majorities in most of the surveyed countries admit to wearing facemasks when outside their homes, UK and Australia prove notable exceptions, with just 23% in each country willing to do so. However, figures in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland are much lower.

Some of the main guidelines from the WHO to protect oneself and others from the virus are, ‘regularly washing hands with soap’ and ‘using hand sanitisers’. Although the majority in UAE and KSA are always or frequently washing hands (92% and 90%, respectively), the use of hand sanitisers appears to be more common among UAE residents than the public in KSA (90% vs 79%).

At a global level, Mexicans (97%), Italians (96%), Spanish (95%) and Filipinos (94%) are the most likely to wash hands with soap and water, while the Chinese (67%) are least likely to do so. Similarly, Mexicans are the most likely to always or frequently sanitise their hands, followed by UAE residents (90%), Filipinos (88%) and Thais (86%), while the Taiwanese people (47%) are least likely to do so.

Although certain businesses such as malls, restaurants and cafes have reopened in both UAE & KSA, people still seem to be cautious and vast majorities in UAE and KSA (90% and 89% respectively) said they have ‘always or frequently’ avoided crowded places in the past week. In addition to this, three-quarters in both the countries (75% and 76%, respectively) also avoid going out in general (always or frequently).