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Greater concern about economic collapse than health – survey

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Over 90 percent of survey respondents extremely worried about possible collapse of economy – Stats SA

MORE than 93 percent of respondents to a recent Covid-19 survey were very concerned or extremely concerned about the possible economic collapse of the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) said on Saturday.

Respondents were staying indoors and only left their houses to get food or medicine, according to the Covid-19 behavioural and health perception survey results released by Stats SA on Saturday. The survey was conducted in the week of April 13 to April 26, Stats SA said in a statement.

More than half (60.1 percent) of respondents were very concerned or extremely concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on their own health. Many of the respondents (93.2 percent) were very concerned or extremely concerned about the possible economic collapse of the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while 79.7 percent were concerned about the civil disorder that may result as a consequence of the virus.

The report further showed that respondents adhered to the call not to go out to public meetings, with almost all (99 percent) reporting not attending any public events, eg church services. Furthermore, the practice of physical distancing when going out was a priority for 98.4 percent of the respondents. Regular hand washing when going out (97.7 percent) and upon returning after one went out (98 percent) was also important practices to most respondents, Stats SA said.

Furthermore, 96.8 percent of respondents indicated that they did not get tested, since they were of the opinion that they did not have Covid-19. Of those respondents who suspected that they might have been infected by Covid-19, three-quarters (75.8 percent) did not get tested either. In addition, 7.8 percent said they did not know where to get tested, while 6.8 percent indicated that they either did not have money to get tested, or did not have transport or money for transport (1.4 percent) to get to a testing facility.

“The findings show that knowledge about the main signs and symptoms of the Covid-19 virus is almost universal, and knowledge about the two main means of transmission of the Covid-19 virus is also high.”

The majority of respondents (93.7 percent) indicated that they or their household members did not need to access health care, while 4.5 percent responded that they or a household member needed to access health care but had been unable to do so. Those who wanted to but could not access health care, indicated that they could not do so because they were scared of contracting the virus (54.1 percent), and 25.5 percent were scared that they might get arrested or fined for being outside their houses.

A total of 14.3 percent of respondents had a chronic condition. Of these, 7.8 percent indicated that they were not able to access their chronic medication. The largest share of this group (45 percent) indicated that they were scared they would be infected. An additional 37.5 percent were scared to leave the house because they feared being arrested and/or fined. Approximately one-fifth (17.5 percent) said that they did not have money to get to the pharmacy, clinic, or health facility where they could obtain medicines.

According to the findings on self-reported employment, two-thirds (69.1 percent) of respondents had a full-time job (receiving a monthly salary); 11.6 percent of respondents were self-employed, while 8.1 percent were unemployed.

The respondents were, however, not representative of the entire South African population. By far, most respondents (94.2 percent) were living in a formal dwelling, either a free-standing house, townhouse, or a cluster house (81.6 percent), or in a flat or apartment in a block of flats (12.6 percent). Less than one percent (0.9 percent) lived in an informal dwelling.

“This survey used a non-probability sample and respondents who chose to respond to this survey are not representative of the entire South African population. The results can, therefore, not be generalised to the entire South African population; 3 951 responses were received,” Stats SA said.

– African News Agency (ANA)