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Thu 19 Mar 2020 02:13 PM

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Revealed: how UAE, Saudi residents feel about the threat of coronavirus

Majority of residents in the UAE and Saudi Arabia say they are 'very scared' or 'fairly scared' about contracting coronavirus

Revealed: how UAE, Saudi residents feel about the threat of coronavirus

The majority (62 percent) of residents in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are “very scared” or “fairly scared” about contracting coronavirus, while 30 percent are not very or not at all scared, according to 2,007 respondents surveyed by YouGov between March 11-18.

Although the findings come as new cases of the Coronavirus emerge in both countries, a third of respondents aged 45+ years (34 percent) said they are either not very scared or not at all scared about getting infected.

Among the genders, a higher number of women than men are fearful of acquiring the virus (67 percent vs 60 percent), while married residents with children are also more worried than single respondents (65 percent vs 58 percent).

In the UAE, 69 percent of Arab expats and 67 percent of Emiratis are very scared or fairly scared about contracting the virus, though fear among Asian and western expats is lower at 61 percent each.

In Saudi Arabia, expats are more afraid about getting the infection compared to locals with 68 percent vs 62 percent respectively.

Three-quarter of residents (76 percent) are improving their personal hygiene by as washing their hands more frequently or using sanitiser in order to protect themselves against the virus, while 73 percent are avoiding crowded places and roughly half (57 percent) are refraining from touching objects in public and 49 percent are avoiding physical contact with tourists.

As many as 37 percent are wearing a face mask in public and 32 percent are avoiding consumption of raw or uncooked meat. Moreover, one in five (20 percent) have stopped going to work.

Most (70 percent) feel well-informed about what to do if they suspect they have coronavirus, with UAE residents being more knowledgeable than KSA residents (74 percent vs 67 percent).

However 18 percent of respondents do not have enough information, with young adults being especially likely to feel this way (24 percent of 18-24 years old respondents).

When it comes to panic shopping, a quarter of respondents have stockpiled supplies in their house, although a majority (68 percent) haven’t done it yet.

Thirty six percent have cancelled plans to travel overseas due to the virus, and 21 percent are delaying booking future travel. One in five (19 percent) are more cautious and are considering cancelling all future travel plans.

Only 6 percent are planning to go ahead with their arranged overseas trips, while 4 percent are actively looking to travel overseas or have already booked an overseas trip.

YouGov will continue to track the public’s attitudes and opinions on Coronavirus.

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