3 in 5 Singaporeans fearful of contracting Wuhan virus: survey

Two men seen wearing face masks outside the Funan Mall on Monday (27 January). (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — About three in five Singaporeans (59 per cent) are fearful of contracting the Wuhan coronavirus, according to a survey released on Wednesday (29 January).

Two in 10 (19 per cent) are “very scared” while two in five (40 per cent) are “fairly scared”, the survey of 1,013 Singaporeans by UK-based YouGov Omnibus showed. 

About 25 per cent of the respondents said they are “not very scared” and 7 per cent are “not at all scared” about contracting the virus. The remaining 8 per cent are undecided.

The survey comes as the Ministry of Health on Tuesday announced two more confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus in Singapore, bringing the total to seven.

About 58 per cent of Singaporeans think that the government are doing “about the right amount” to contain the virus. Of the rest, 35 per cent think the authorities are not doing enough, 3 per cent believe they are doing too much, and the remaining 4 per cent are undecided.

Of the broad measures that could be taken, 84 per cent agree that all incoming flights from Wuhan be stopped. As for Chinese travellers in Singapore, 43 per cent say they should all be quarantined. 

On Tuesday, the authorities announced new travel curbs in a bid to combat the outbreak.

All new visitors with recent travel history to Hubei within the last 14 days are not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore for now. The travel ban extends to those with Chinese passports issued in Hubei.

Returning Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders with travel history to Hubei in the last 14 days will be quarantined, as will returning permanent residents and long-term pass holders with Chinese passports issued in Hubei.

With demand for face masks surging, 56 per cent think that the government should provide free masks for the country. Around 5 per cent feel the whole country should be in quarantine.

On personal measures they are undertaking, 81 per cent say they have improved their personal hygiene, such as washing their hands more often.

Crowded spaces are being avoided by 73 per cent of the respondents. About 63 per cent are avoiding consuming raw meat while 48 per cent are avoiding travelling outside of Singapore. 

While 37 per cent of Singaporeans are wearing a face mask in public, 5 per cent are avoiding going to work or school.

Jake Gammon, Head of Omnibus APAC at YouGov Omnibus, said, “It is clear that fears of the (Wuhan) virus are shared across age groups, and a significant amount believe that more governmental measures can be taken.”

(Wuhan virus outbreak infographic: Casandra Wong/Yahoo News Singapore)