Survey: Perceived threat of coronavirus increased among Estonian people

An advert from the Health Board's
An advert from the Health Board's "Let’s keep Estonia open!" campaign encouraging people to download HOIA. Source: Terviseamet

While the perceived risk relating to the spread of the coronavirus had slightly declined among Estonia's population by the end of October, by the start of November, however, it had once more grown exponentially, it appears from a survey commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and carried out by pollster Turu-uuringute AS.

The data shows 67 percent of people in Estonia deem the situation to be critical, the largest share over the past six months. 87 percent are prepared to wear a mask in at least some situations and 39 percent are in favor of tightening restrictions.

The share of people who regarded the situation as critical was 58 percent at the start of October and 51 percent at the end of the same month, compared with the current share of 67 percent.

Broken down by age groups, the situation is assessed as critical by 86 percent of people aged 75 and older whereas the 25-34 age group is the least concerned with just 48 percent of respondents deeming the situation as critical. 16 percent of residents believe that acute crisis is now over yet opine that one should nonetheless remain vigilant and follow safety measures.

Anti-coronavirus measures were supported by 48 percent of respondents at the start of November. The share of people in favor of stricter measures increased from 29 percent at the end of October to 39 percent by the start of November. 10 percent were in favor of seeing the measures relaxed.

Overall support for the current measures to continue remains high - the requirement to self-quarantine after arriving from a state where the infection rate is high is supported by 91 percent of people, restrictions on entertainment venues by 86 percent, restrictions on indoor and outdoor events by 80 percent and restrictions on the sale of alcohol at bars and restaurants by 64 percent.

88 percent of the respondents supported hand hygiene as a preventive measure, 76 percent were in favor of covering one's mouth and nose while sneezing, 71 percent supported hand disinfection and avoiding close contact with people with virus symptoms.

The share of people who remained at home has grown slightly compared with the end of October, from 25 percent to 30 percent. 25 percent said that they regularly wear a mask. 

"Residents' willingness to wear a mask has increased slightly compared with the end of October - last month, 83 percent were prepared to wear a mask at least in some situations even if they are healthy themselves. The corresponding figure at the start of November was 87 percent," Vaike Vainu, survey manager at Turu-uuringute AS, said.

"The highest share of people are prepared to wear a mask while visiting a doctor, on public transport, at shopping malls and stores. The lowest share are prepared to wear a mask at private parties," she said.

The proportion of people who are not willing to wear a mask under any circumstances has declined from 14 percent to 10 percent from the end of October.

The share of respondents who have felt stressed or under pressure over the past 30 days has been growing slowly from 68 percent at the start of October to 70 percent at the end of the month to 75 percent at the start of November. The share of people who have felt very stressed or under a lot of pressure has also grown from 20 percent to 24 percent. Younger age groups report higher than average stress levels - 49 percent of respondents aged 15-24 have felt they are under a lot of pressure.

42 percent of the respondents said that the coronavirus situation has negatively affected their income of their family's income. 20 percent reported that they are experiencing difficulty coping at their current income levels. Only 19 percent said they are familiar with the support options provided by their local government, however.

While 43 percent knew where to find information about the support and services offered by their local government, 42 percent did not know where such information is found. Only three percent of the respondents have actually turned to their local government for help whereas 64 percent said that they do not need any assistance. 28 percent said that they have not sought help as they do not deem it likely that they would get any assistance. Among the latter group, 40 percent said that they are experiencing difficulty coping.

Since spring, 12 percent of the respondents have experienced distance learning as a student and 24 percent as a parent. 37 percent of students reported difficulties maintaining study motivation, 33 percent with the increased workload and 29 percent with excessive focus on independent work. 49 percent of the parents likewise deemed increased study workload problematic while 43 percent said the amount of independent work is too large.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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