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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Half of citizens support ‘living-with-Covid’: CityU survey

Half of citizens support ‘living-with-Covid’: CityU survey

Half of Hong Kong citizens support “living-with-Covid,” while 35 percent prefer zero-Covid, a survey conducted by the City University of Hong Kong has found.
A survey conducted by the CityU Department of Media and Communication found that, as early as November last year, when the pandemic was relatively stable, Hong Kong citizens were already fatigued by the pandemic battle.

The team surveyed over 1,501 citizens aged 20 or above in November last year to gauge the relationship between people’s stance on Covid policies and their personal backgrounds.

The results suggested that approximately half of the respondents supported the “living-with-Covid” policy, while about 35 percent tended to opt for the “zero-Covid” policy. Another 14.3 percent were neutral about the issue.

Further breakdown of responses indicated that younger, educated men with higher incomes supported living with Covid; as more than half of male respondents, respondents aged 20 to 49, those with a bachelor’s degree and above, and more than half of those who had a monthly household income of HK$40,000 or more showed support for the “living-with-Covid” strategy.

On the other hand, female respondents and respondents aged 50 or above were more supportive of “zero-Covid,” with nearly half supporting this strategy.

In addition, there was a significant correlation between personal health status and Covid policy stance. Compared to the group with good health status, groups with moderate or poor health status were more likely to support “zero-Covid.”

After controlling for the influences of demographic variables such as age, gender, education level, and income, the study found that citizens’ risk perception, trust in the government, political beliefs regarding the pandemic, and media exposure were significantly associated with their Covid policy stances.

Specifically, when citizens perceived a higher likelihood of infection, had more trust in the government, paid more attention to Covid-related news in various media, they were more likely to support the “zero-Covid” policy.

On the contrary, citizens perceived a lower likelihood of infection, had less trust in the government, paid less attention to Covid-related news, were more likely to support “living-with-Covid.”

Professor Christine Huang Yi-hui, who led the survey, said the results found that under the implementation of the “zero-Covid” policy, the public has more expectations for the “living-with-Covid” policy.

“In the fifth outbreak, we observed that the citizens gradually returned to their daily routines after the initial panic. Their willingness to go out did not drop significantly. These all indicated the citizens showed signs of fatigue, and their persistence in containment started to decline.”

She suggested that in the next phase, it is vital for the government to eliminate Hong Kong citizens’ fatigue under the challenge of new waves of variants and pandemics.

“Living with Covid doesn’t mean to give up fighting against it,” she stressed.
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