Worshippers maintain physical distancing as they take part in a morning prayer to celebrate Eid’l Fitr at the Mohammed al-Amin Mosque in Beirut, Lebanon yesterday. Similar mass gatherings were banned in the Philippines.
AFP
Filipinos pray more, have less vices during COVID-19 quarantine—study
Jan Milo Severo (Philstar.com) - May 28, 2020 - 12:17pm

MANILA, Philippines — A recent survey revealed that Filipinos turned to prayer and slowed down on their vices during the community quarantine in Metro Manila and other parts of the country due to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Researchers of the PhilCare Community Quarantine Wellness Index revealed that of its 800 respondents, eight out of 10 (76.7%) said they prayed at least more frequently than they did before the lockdown.

The study, which aimed to determine the state of Filipinos’ wellness while in community quarantine, also revealed that six out of 10 respondents (60.9%) said they now rarely drank beer, wine, or liquor products as compared to before the lockdown; while half (50.4%) said they now rarely smoked.

The survey was first administered via phone calls, with 400 randomly-selected respondents from May 11 to 14, the final stretch of the extended enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and several other areas. Another 400 were interviewed from May 16-20 -- the first days of the modified enhanced community quarantine in the metro and other areas.

“The community quarantines and the pandemic as a whole have altered the way we live, which shocked many Filipinos. This survey provided us the opportunity to take a deeper dive into their sentiments and behaviors when it comes to health and wellness,” said lead researcher Dr. Fernando Paragas of the College of Mass Communication at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

“The ongoing pandemic naturally makes everyone feel helpless. What’s good about the findings is that we saw how Filipinos turned to spirituality -- which is a positive coping mechanism – in order to deal with the anxiety. It is interesting that vices only played a minor role in helping Filipinos through the ordeal of quarantine,” said PhilCare Associate Medical Director Dr. Ultra Tan.

Meanwhile, six of 10 respondents (60.1%) particularly said they were not comfortable about going back to their offices, similar to the study’s preliminary results.

Nearly all respondents, nonetheless, are most concerned with the health of their loved ones (95.9%), a possible “second wave” of COVID-19 (94.1%), and contracting the disease itself (93.6%).

“We believe that the findings of the index serve an eye-opener to employers and policymakers on how responsive they should be towards their respective stakeholders given that our way of life has dramatically changed. With these learnings, we hope to work together with various sectors in order for us to continue living healthy even amid the pandemic,” said PhilCare President and Chief Executive Officer Jaeger Tanco.

The company recently launched its Wellness From Home workout videos uploaded on the company's Facebook page, featuring exercises taught by fitness experts to help followers achieve optimal wellness despite being unable to go out to exercise. To date, the videos have reached 500,000 people, of which 350,000 have viewed them.

In addition, the company offers its DigiConsult service, a timely response to the study’s findings wherein members need not leave their homes to be able to consult a doctor on the phone anytime. They just have to use their HeyPhil app, which can be downloaded on Google Play and the App Store. The health maintenance organization (HMO) is also working to have the service available to non-members.

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