Most Filipinos follow measures vs COVID-19 but adherence declines in Metro Manila — SWS

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Most Filipinos follow measures vs COVID-19 but adherence declines in Metro Manila â SWS
In this photo taken on September 2, 2020, empty seats and tables are seen at a food court inside a mall in Manila.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — A huge majority of Filipinos continue to wear face masks and maintain physical distancing when they go out even after movement restrictions were further eased, a Social Weather Survey showed.

However, the proportion of those who "always" follow health protocols decreased in Metro Manila, the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak.

The SWS, in a survey conducted when most areas of the country were already under modified general community quarantine, found that 79% of the 1,249 adult respondents “always” wore face masks when leaving the house in the past month. This is a slight increase from the 76% recorded in July.

Sixty-seven percent always wash their hands several times, while 59% always keep a one-meter distance from other people outside their residences. The polling firm said that obedience to handwashing and physical distancing protocols “hardly changed” since the July survey.  

Fifty-six percent of the respondents also said they always wear face shields whenever they ride public transport or go to malls, markets or drugstores. The question on wearing of face shields was included for the first time in the September survey.

READ: Study finds unclear virus guidance may prompt selfishness

Decline in Metro Manila

The SWS noted that while most Filipinos still practice safety measures against COVID-19, the obedience to safety protocols declined in Metro Manila, which accounts for more than half of the country’s COVID-19 cases.

Obedience to face mask wearing was highest in Visayas at 86%, followed by Mindanao at 78%, Metro Manila at 77% and Balance Luzon at 76%. The proportion of those who always use face masks in the capital region was down by 13 points in September from the previous 90%.

The proportion of those who always practice proper handwashing also fell in Metro Manila to 63% from 73% in July. Meanwhile, Visayas was at the top in terms of adherence to handwashing rule at 75%, followed by Mindanao at 69% and Balance Luzon at 64%.

The number of Metro Manila residents always obedient to keeping physical distance fell sightly to 65% from the previous 68%. Obedience to this rule was highest in Visayas 68%, then Metro Manila, Mindanao at 60% and Balance Luzon at 56%.

Sixty-six percent of respondents in Visayas said they always wear face shields in public, followed by 58% in Mindanao, 55% in Metro Manila and 52% in Balance Luzon.

The survey was done from September 17 to 20 when the capital region was under general community quarantine. It had sampling error margin of ±3% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, ±5% for Balance Luzon, ±6% for the Visayas, and ±6% for Mindanao.

Only Lanao del Sur in Mindanao will be under a stricter modified enhanced community quarantine beginning October 1.

Metro Manila will remain under GCQ until the end of October. Other areas under GCQ include Batangas, Tacloban City, Bacolod City, Iligan City and Iloilo City.

Meanwhile, the rest of the country will be under modified GCQ, the most relaxed form of community quarantine.

The Department of Health said Monday there is a seeming downtrend in the number of new infections but it advised the public to continue practicing minimum health standards.

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