Reminders to commuters to follow preventive measures against COVID-19 were posted in a bus in this May 14, 2020 photo.
The STAR/Edd Gumban
SWS: Majority of Filipinos wear masks, keep physical distance to prevent spread of COVID-19
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - May 25, 2020 - 4:38pm

MANILA, Philippines — Majority of Filipino have taken measures such as maintaining physical distancing and wearing of face masks to guard themselves from the spread of the coronavirus disease, a Social Weather Stations survey showed.

In survey of 4,010 respondents, SWS found that 77% of working-age Filipinos or those aged 15 years old and above always use a face mask when going out of their homes. Only 2% said they rarely don face coverings whenever they are outside.

Many local governments have passed ordinances requiring people to wear face masks or similar coverings when outside. The inter-agency task force on COVID-19 response has long said that face masks are mandatory.

Sixty-eight percent said they always wash their hands several times a day, while 1% answered they rarely do it.

The survey also showed that 64% said they always maintain physical distance—a safe distance of at least one meter from other people—every time they are outside. Only 9% said they sometimes do the preventive measure, while 6% said they rarely do it.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

While there is currently no vaccine against COVID-19, experts said the best way to prevent the disease is to avoid being exposed to the virus through frequent handwashing, putting distance between yourself and other people when going out and covering mouth and nose with masks in public.

The SWS also noted that the proportion of those who always use a face mask and observe social distancing hardly varies in areas under enhanced community quarantine and localities under a more relaxed general community quarantine.

“Those who always wash their hands are slightly higher in GCQ areas at 71% than in ECQ areas at 66%,” it also said.

In mid-March, the national government began placing areas in the Philippines under community quarantines to slow the spread of the contagion. Last week, it began easing restrictions on movement to pump life into the economy battered by a two-month lockdown.

Areas in the country are in different levels community quarantines although most are under GCQ.

A separate SWS poll also found that 87% of Filipinos are worried that members of their immediate family might contract COVID-19. Only 13% said they do not feel that worry.

The survey was conducted between May 4 and 10 using mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviewing. It has a sampling error margin of ±2% for national percentages.

The Philippines has so far reported 14,319 cases, with 873 deaths.  

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