‘Pakistanis’ casual attitude worrisome’

People far less worried about virus complications, fatality in Pakistan, finds study

NEWS DESK July 30, 2020

One in six Pakistani adults believe that they and their families were safe from the coronavirus even without any preventive measures, revealed a study conducted by Aga Khan University (AKU) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

As many as 1,406 adults across Pakistan took part in a survey conducted by the Pakistani researchers over the first two weeks of May and compared the results with a similar study conducted in Hong Kong, which is widely considered a Covid-19 containment success story - seeing only 2,770 infections and 22 deaths in six months.

In contrast, data collected in May showed Pakistan's rate of infections per 100,000 people at 137 against Hong Kong's 33, while Pakistan's fatality rate per 100,000 was also three times higher.

The study found that Pakistanis were far less concerned about complications caused by the virus and believed that they were more likely to survive it than those surveyed in Hong Kong.

Only 41 per cent of Pakistanis rated Covid-19 symptoms as being very severe or severe, compared to 97 per cent of Hong Kong respondents.

Similarly, nearly 68 per cent of Pakistanis believed they had a high or very high chance of surviving the disease against just 36 per cent of their counterparts in Hong Kong. Pakistanis were also less likely to seek out information on preventive measures and how to detect Covid-19 symptoms than their counterparts in Hong Kong.

"The casual attitude of literate Pakistanis towards preventive measures and the risk of contracting the disease is concerning," said Prof Fauziah Rabbani, the study's principal investigator.

"We need to be more cautious and attentive towards the preventive measures, especially during the Eid holidays so that we can continue to contain the disease," she added.

Meanwhile, researchers also analysed the data by gender to assess differing perceptions about the virus.

Interestingly, in general, men had a lower risk perception of Covid-19 compared to women.

Researchers noted that in both countries, seven out of 10 citizens were reluctant to go to hospitals or clinics.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th, 2020.


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