MANILA — "Large majorities" of Filipinos follow government advice on containing the novel coronavirus, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Friday showed, after several officials blamed the public's alleged stubbornness for the pandemic's spread.
Out of 1,555 Filipinos polled between July 3 and 6, 76 percent said they always use an anti-virus mask outside their homes. Around 65 percent said they wash their hands several times a day, and 59 percent always keep a 1-meter distance from other people when outside their homes, said SWS.
The pollster said it conducted the survey shortly after the community quarantine was relaxed in most areas of the country on July 1.
Compared to a May survey, the ratings "hardly changed" from 77 percent for those who said they always use a face mask, and 68 percent who said they always wash their hands. However, it fell by 5 points from 64 percent for those who said they always observe "physical distance," SWS said.
RULE ADHERENCE ACROSS AREAS, EDUCATION
In the July survey, those who said they always keep physical distance were highest in Metro Manila- epicenter of the outbreak- at 68 percent, followed by Visayas at 64 percent, Mindanao at 57 percent, and other Luzon areas at 56 percent.
Metro Manila, home to around 12 million people, also accounted for the highest percentage of those who said they always wear a mask at 90 percent, followed by Visayas at 82 percent, and Balance Luzon and Mindanao at 72 percent each.
In terms of frequent handwashing, this was highest in Metro Manila at 73 percent, followed by Visayas at 69 percent, Mindanao at 67 percent, and Balance Luzon at 59 percent.
Observance of safety practices "rises with education," said SWS.
The proportion of those who said they always use a face mask is highest among college graduates at 82 percent, followed by junior high school graduates at 77 percent, elementary graduates at 73 percent, and non-elementary graduates at 68 percent.
Those who said they always wash their hands are highest among college graduates at 67 percent, followed by junior high school graduates at 65 percent, elementary graduates at 62 percent, and non-elementary graduates at 60 percent.
Respondents who said they always keep “physical distance” are highest among college graduates at 71 percent, followed by junior high school graduates at 59 percent, elementary graduates at 52 percent, and non-elementary graduates at 48 percent.
FLASHBACK: DISAGREEMENTS ON PINOY 'STUBBORNNESS'
President Rodrigo Duterte in late June called Cebuanos "hard-headed" after Cebu City overtook Quezon City as the area with the most cases of the respiratory disease.
Vice President Leni Robredo said it was "wrong" and "self-defeating" for the government to blame the public for the increasing cases of the novel coronavirus.
The Philippines as of Thursday has confirmed 74,390 cases of COVID-19. The tally includes 48,136 active cases, 24,383 patients who recovered and 1,871 deaths, according to the health department.
The government needs to boost contact tracing instead of re-imposing hard lockdowns to contain the pandemic, said the World Health Organization.