SWS: 85 pct of Filipinos still fear catching COVID-19 6 months into lockdown


Posted at Sep 29 2020 12:54 PM

A woman wearing a face mask and face shield for protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is pictured at a financial district in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Sept. 22, 2020. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters

MANILA — About 85 percent of Filipinos remain fearful of catching COVID-19 some 6 months into the pandemic lockdown in the Philippines, one of the longest in the world, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released Tuesday. 

Of 1,249 adults polled from Sept. 17 to 20, 85 percent said they were "worried a great deal" or "somewhat worried" that anyone in their immediate family might contract the respiratory disease. Nine percent were "worried a little", and 6 percent were not, said SWS. 

This is similar to a July 2020 survey that also found 85 percent of respondents worried about catching the virus.

"Compared to previous SWS surveys, worry about catching COVID-19 is greater than worries about catching previous viruses such as Ebola, Swine Flu, Bird Flu, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)," said the pollster.

Fear of the virus was highest in Luzon areas outside the capital region at 87 percent, followed by the Visayas with 84 percent; virus epicenter Metro Manila, 83 percent; and Mindanao, 80 percent. 

President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday partial coronavirus restrictions in and around Metro Manila would be extended for another month until Oct. 31 to keep the spread of COVID-19 in check.

The Philippines reported 3,073 new COVID-19 cases and 37 fatalities that day, taking its total count to 307,288 cases - the highest in Southeast Asia - with 5,381 deaths. 

Most businesses, including dine-in services, have been allowed to reopen since Manila exited strict lockdown measures on Aug. 19 to boost the economy, which fell into recession for the first time in 29 years in the second quarter.

People must still wear masks, face shields and observe one-meter physical distancing, while children, the elderly and pregnant women are urged to stay at home.

The government has tested more than 3.4 million people and aims to test 10 million - nearly a tenth of the population - by the second quarter of next year. -- With a report from Reuters