Survey: Residents' diligence in preventing spread of virus begins to decline

Three-quarters of the residents of Estonia would consider using a mobile application to detect exposure to a COVID-19 positive person, while people's diligence in preventing the spread of the virus has begun to decline, it appears from a fresh survey by pollster Turu-uuringute AS.

Altogether 74 percent of Estonian residents would be prepared to consider using a mobile application to detect whether they have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive person. A total of 20 percent would not agree to use such an application and 6 percent did not have an opinion on the matter.

In the last three weeks, however, the share of the residents who are following all instructions has fallen by approximately ten percentage points from 80 to 70 percent. Women are much more diligent than men - with 79 percent of women and 60 percent of men following all instructions. Among residents aged 65 and older, 78-83 percent are following the guidelines.

The number of people staying at home has also decreased significantly in recent weeks. Altogether 51 percent of residents are remaining at home, marking a decrease of 11 percent, and 5 percent of respondents are staying in quarantine. A total of 43 percent of the residents are going outside as much as before, while 39 percent are avoiding crowded places, but 4 percent are not.

Turu-uuringute AS manager Tõnis Stamberg said it is understandable that, against the backdrop of approaching warmer weather and the emergency situation that has been going on for weeks, people are waiting for the restrictions to be eased. On the positive side, however, most are still making an effort and following guidelines, recognizing the need for social distancing in order to prevent a further increase in the risk of the virus spreading.

Altogether 80 percent of the respondents are prepared to wear a mask indoors in public places, 15 percent would not do that, and 5 percent do not have a clear opinion. The willingness to wear a mask to a doctor's office is the highest, 67 percent of respondents, followed by shopping malls and stores with 64 percent, and in public transport with 62 percent. Men and respondents aged 25-34 expressed their unwillingness to wear a mask more often than average.

If wearing a mask makes it possible to ease the existing restrictions, 73 percent of the population would be prepared to wear a mask in public indoor spaces. Altogether 48 percent of respondents justified their reluctance by wanting to wear the mask only for a short time. A total of 44 percent said they would only wear the mask voluntarily. In addition, 26 percent of residents estimate that buying masks would be too expensive, and 26 percent doubt that wearing masks is effective in limiting the spread of the virus and protecting the wearer.

According to 58 percent of the population, the situation related to the coronavirus has reduced their or their family's income, and this indicator has remained stable. Of the working population, 41 percent have not seen a change in their workload during the emergency situation, 35 percent have experienced a decreased workload and 16 percent an increased workload. Of those surveyed who said they were unemployed, 29 percent lost their jobs during the emergency situation.

The share of the population seeking the easing of emergency situation measures has further increased - 32 percent want restrictions to be eased, 54 percent are satisfied with the measures and 12 percent want restrictions to be made stricter.

The survey commissioned by the Government Office was conducted by polling 2,024 Estonian residents aged 15 and above by telephone and over the internet. This is the seventh time the survey was carried out.

Editor: Anders Nõmm

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