Survey: Over 90 percent of citizens support continued COVID-19 restrictions

Keeping at least 2 meters' distance from others in public spaces is one of the many restrictions in place during, and after, the coronavirus emergency situation.
Keeping at least 2 meters' distance from others in public spaces is one of the many restrictions in place during, and after, the coronavirus emergency situation. Source: Health Board.

Estonian residents are increasingly in support of measures imposed by the government during its emergency situation, aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, according to a survey conducted on behalf of the government. Only 7 percent said they wanted the restrictions to be eased, and 37 percent said they should be intensified, according to the survey. Nonetheless, more people reported they were going out than was the case in a previous survey.

Fifty-four percent of residents polled, by market research firm Turu-uuringute AS, said that they support the current measures, which include the closure of schools, public events and maintaining the 2+2 rule (2 meters gap from others in public areas, no more than two people to congregate in same). Restrictions on Saaremaa, by far the most heavily affected region of the country, are more far-reaching.

The proportion of those who say the current measures should be intensified stood at 37 percent in the same survey, though this is smaller than it had been, BNS reports.

Seven percent said they would like to see the current restrictions relaxed.

Tõnis Stamberg of Turu-uuringute said that the recent survey reveals a positive change in trends, particularly among young people, who are taking a more serious attitude towards the emergency situation measures than in previous weeks, he said.

Stamberg added that individual effort was key; 81 percent of those polled said they think they remember and follow all restrictions, with 15 percent saying they observe most, 2 percent only those rules which don't require much effort, and 2 percent saying they didn't really do anything specific to follow the restrictions.

Thirty percent of residents polled say they are now making more effort observing the restrictions than they had done in the previous week, while 68 percent said they had not modified their activities since then.

The ratio of people staying at home has also fallen compared with a similar poll taken last week, the survey found.

Among ethnic Estonians polled, a higher figure said that they were in favor of tougher measures, however, at 40 percent. Younger people (aged 15-25) polled were even keener on stronger measures, with 50 percent saying they would support such a move.

Regional breakdown

A regional breakdown say 53 percent of those polled in Viljandi and Võru counties supporting tougher restrictions, compared with 25 percent in Põlva County and 28 percent in Ida-Viru County agreeing with them.

Võru is per capita the second-highest hit region of Estonia by coronavirus cases.

Ninety-five percent of residents of Valga County, which borders with Latvia, said they were careful to follow the current restrictions; this figure stood at 92 percent in Saaremaa and 86 percent in Lääne County, adjacent to Saaremaa on the mainland but one of the least affected counties to date.

Sixty-three percent of residents of Rapla County polled said they observed the current rules carefully, with 72 percent in Põlva County and 74 percent in Ida-Viru County saying same, BNS reports.

People of "other nationalities", as well as residents of Võru, Lääne-Viru and Harju counties are most likely to have increased their efforts to observe the strictures, the poll found, and for the first time since the surveys started, the proportion of those making more of an effort then in the previous week is higher among residents up to age 35, at 31 percent, than among older residents.

People going out more

Tõnis Stamberg said the fall in the proportion of those remaining at home was of concern.

Fifty-eight percent of residents said that they are self-quarantining at all times and would exit their residence only in an emergency, a decline of 9 percent on the previous week.

Sixty-four percent of those giving a reason for going out said it was due to work, unchanged from before, and 57 percent cited a need to simply get out in the fresh air.

Those who are mobile outside who think their actions have no effect have declined in proportion, from 14 to 9 percent, according to the poll.

Ninety-one percent of those polled said they understand adhering to the rules can avoid family members and others close to them contracting the virus, while 82 percent said they were concerned that someone else might pass on the virus to them.

Economic effects

Fifty-eight percent of residents siad they have detected a decline in income in connection with the coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing restrictions; this was particularly keenly felt among non-Estonians (69 percent), those aged 35-49 (67 percent) and residents of Võru County (73 percent).

The survey polled 2,039 Estonian residents aged 15 and over, by phone and online.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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