Survey: Restrictions followed in Estonia despite drop in sense of danger

Signs on a Tallinn bus encouraging people to wear masks.
Signs on a Tallinn bus encouraging people to wear masks. Source: ERR

While the sense of danger of the people in Estonia with regard to the spread of the coronavirus is showing a declining trend, the diligence to follow the measures to prevent the spread of the virus remains good, it appears from a recent poll.

The sense of danger was highest in mid-December, when 75 percent of people considered the situation critical. In the first half of January, it dropped to 66 percent, and according to the latest survey, 57 percent of people consider the situation to be critical, it appears from a recent survey commissioned by the Government Office and carried out by pollster Turu-uuringute AS from Jan. 22 to 25.

However, the number of those who think that an acute crisis is over but vigilance and safety rules must be maintained has increased - in mid-December, there were 9 percent of such people, and now, at the end of January, three times more or 27 percent. At the same time, 79 percent of people aged 75 and older consider the situation critical, but only 45 percent of people aged 25-49 think so.

"At the same time, people say that they are continuing to follow the guidelines for preventing the spread of the virus well. For example, nine out of ten people wear a mask and there are no changes here," Turu-uuringute AS research manager Vaike Vainu said.

Altogether 70 percent of Estonians say that remember and follow all the rules, while 20 percent follow most of the rules. There is no significant difference compared to the previous survey.

"The decline in the perception of the criticality of the situation is worrying, as there is a risk that it will at some point lead to a decline in compliance with the measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus. At the same time, a so-called crisis fatigue is very understandable and human," member of the anti-COVID-19 research council, behavioral scientist and psychologist Andero Uusberg said.

"It is very gratifying that, for example, wearing masks or cleaning hands has become a social norm. In this way, each person's small effort together brings great results," he added.

Altogether 39 percent of the respondents support the tightening of measures and the same number support maintaining the measures in their current form. At the same time, 18 percent of people support the easing of measures.

"The attitude towards the measures is reminiscent of the beginning of October, when the morbidity per 100,000 inhabitants was several times lower than the current level," Vainu said.

"At the same time, satisfaction with resolving the situation has increased compared to December -- 63 percent of people are satisfied or rather satisfied with tje resolution of the situation so far, which is almost 10 percentage points more than in December, Vainu added.

There has been a slight decrease in interest in searching for information about the spread of the virus. In November and December, 56 percent of the population said they were consciously and regularly looking for news about COVID-19, a figure that has now dropped to 47 percent.

The economic coping of families has not changed significantly in recent months. Altogether 19 percent of the population consider their family income to be sufficient to live comfortably, 56 percent can manage on their current income and 23 percent estimate that it is difficult to manage on their current income. However, 43 percent of the population estimates that the coronavirus situation has reduced their or their family's income. There is no change here compared to the beginning of January.

Awareness of the assistance provided by local governments is relatively low. Altogether 55 percent of people say they are not aware of the benefits and services provided by local governments, and 17 percent consider themselves to be aware of them. Only 46 percent of people say they know where to look for information about the support opportunities offered by the municipality. Compared to the beginning of January, the residents' awareness of the assistance opportunities offered by local governments has not changed.

The survey was commissioned by the Government Office and conducted by Turu-uuringute AS. The 22nd wave of the survey was conducted between Jan. 22 and 25.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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