Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 24 September 2020

Coronavirus: Abu Dhabi residents' top Covid-19 fear revealed in survey

A survey by the Department of Community Development showed almost all respondents believe the government, communities and individuals must work together to beat the virus

The number one concern dominating the minds of Abu Dhabi residents amid the coronavirus outbreak is a loved one becoming affected by Covid-19.

Of the 50,041 people polled by Abu Dhabi's Department of Community Development since April, almost all said this was their biggest fear.

The results of the survey were released on Wednesday and showed that 87 per cent of all respondents are concerned or very concerned about Covid-19, with women and people over 50 revealed to be the most worried.

About 97 per cent of those polled believed it was of "high importance" that the government, communities and individuals all worked together to combat the virus and prevent its spread.

More than four out of five people reported that the virus had a significant or dramatic affect on their daily life. The figure comes as no surprise since many employees have been working from home since April with restrictions on commercial activity only beginning to ease late last month.

Precautionary measures remain in place to prevent the spread of the virus, including capacity limits on shopping malls and restaurants and the mandatory use of face masks while in public places. Tourism destinations, including museums and hotels, were closed and a nightly stay-home order was implemented to carry out a disinfection of the emirate's streets.

Around 93 per cent of those polled said they had full confidence in the UAE Government to effectively manage the pandemic.

The UAE was quick to react to the first local cases, detected in late January, by introducing screening at airports and limiting flights. The government went on to close schools and the country's borders before implementing a robust nationwide testing drive – as part of its early detection strategy – to identify, isolate and treat patients to prevent further infections. Half of those polled said they were working from home.

Almost three quarters of respondents said they believed most people were complying with the authorities' instructions. Authorities have said that anyone caught endangering others by not complying with the safety measures in place would face legal action, including hefty fines. These range from Dh3,000 for not wearing a mask in public to Dh50,000 for those who do not complete home quarantine, as instructed by authorities.

Businesses must also ensure certain measures are met, including reducing the amount of staff in offices, correctly disposing of waste and frequently disinfecting common areas. Inspection campaigns are carried out by Abu Dhabi Municipality and the Department of Economic Development to ensure full compliance.

About 3 in 5 people polled said their company had laid off some staff as a result of lost business due to the outbreak. A further 36 per cent said they believe they could lose their job.

Millions have lost their jobs around the world after the virus caused the economy to significantly contract. The closure of borders and grounding of flights have severely affected more than just the aviation industry as businesses of every size feel the affect of the virus.

On a happier note, more than 91 per cent of people surveyed said that, while home life has been challenging, they feel more connected to their family.

Of the over 50,000 people surveyed, a little more than half (52.3 per cent) were women while the remaining 47.7 per cent of respondents were men.

Updated: June 4, 2020 11:14 AM

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