9 in 10 Filipinos wear face masks, wash hands to prevent COVID-19 – poll

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the country, a survey of Octa Research showed majority of Filipinos are complying with the minimum health standards set by the Department of Health (DOH).

The survey, conducted from January 26 to February 1, said 9 out of 10 Filipinos use face masks and wash their hands with soap and water or alcohol and sanitizer to avoid contracting COVID-19.

"The use of face mask and regular cleaning of hands using water and soap or alcohol top the measures Filipinos practice to avoid contracting COVID-19, with 91% and 90% of Filipinos practicing each, respectively," the report said.

The survey released on Tuesday, March 9, also found 89% of Filipinos use face shields. Further, 67% observe social distancing while 60% stay at home when it is not necessary to go out.

"On the other hand, only a quarter of Filipinos (25%) avoid domestic travel while only 20% consult a doctor or healthcare provider when not feeling well," the report said.

The research team based findings on face-to-face interviews with 1,200 Filipinos aged 18 years old and above. It has a 95% confidence level with a ±3% margin of error.

Table from the Octa Research Group

Octa

In terms of frequency, Octa Research noted that 89% of Filipinos surveyed said they regularly wear a face mask when going out of the house, while 81% of them wash their hands several times a day, while 79% cover their mouth and noise when coughing.

Meanwhile, wearing face shields and observing physical distancing are "not consistently practiced by adult Filipinos."

"Only 64% of adult Filipinos regularly wore face shields when going out of the house. While 68% of adult Filipinos regularly observed physical distancing or 1-meter distance when engaging with other people outside the house," the report said.

On Monday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the "underlying cause" of why the country is experiencing a rise in cases is the public's "non-compliance" with the health protocols for COVID-19.

She said that the spike in COVID-19 cases "cannot be solely attributed" to the presence of the more infectious variants in the country, as she urged the public to strictly follow minimum health standards.

"As long as our public would not be able to comply with the minimum health protocols that are there, andiyan na po yung posibilidad na dadami at dadami ang kaso (the possibility of rising cases remains)," she said.

The survey results from Octa Research were released to the media as the Philippines breached the 600,000-mark in COVID-19 cases. The health department reported 2,668 new infections on Tuesday, March 8, pushing total cases in the country to 600,428.

By March 8, the COVID-19 death toll in the Philippines was at 12,528, as there were 7 new deaths recorded. Recoveries grew by 171 to 546,078.

Of the total cases, 41,822 are active. – Rappler.com

Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol is a multimedia reporter for Rappler, covering health, education, and social welfare. He first joined Rappler as a social media producer in 2016.

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