49pc parents want schools closed: report

Published November 17, 2020
A man wears a protective mask as he rides on a bus in Karachi on Nov 16. — Reuters
A man wears a protective mask as he rides on a bus in Karachi on Nov 16. — Reuters

ISLAMABAD: While the threat perception regarding Covid-19 has decreased across the country, 49 per cent of parents do not want to send their children to school, according to a survey.

Moreover, income of 83pc of people has decreased due to the pandemic. But half of Pakistanis are optimistic that the Covid-19 vaccine will be available before the end of 2020.

The survey, “Worsening Covid-19 realities and diminishing threat perceptions”, was conducted by a research company, Ipsos.

During the survey, 1,072 people were contacted through phone calls from Oct 28 to Nov 4. As many as 54pc of the respondents were from Punjab and Islamabad, 25pc from Sindh, 16pc from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 3pc from Balochistan and 2pc from AJK. Around 74pc of the respondents were males and 26pc females, 82pc belonged to urban and 18pc to rural areas.

With over 7,000 deaths, only 35pc people consider Covid-19 as a threat

The report stated that in April there were over 2,000 cases of Covid-19 and 25 deaths but 50pc of people were taking the virus as a threat to themselves and 83pc considered it a threat to Pakistan. However, in November while over 350,000 cases and 7,000 deaths had been reported, only 35pc of people considered the disease as a threat to themselves and 43pc as a threat to Pakistan.

The survey claimed that the public awareness level remained stagnant at 86pc for the last six months but increased after a sudden surge in positive cases to 92pc.

After dropping to ever lowest figures in September, the threat perception has suddenly risen sharply across all levels in November compared to September. However, it is still low compared to April.

Pakistanis have expressed highest trust in local news channels and religious centres for Covid-19 updates while negligible trust is shown in the social media.

Moreover, parents’ concern regarding sending their children to schools seemed rebounding. In September, 90pc of parents were comfortable with sending their children to school but this percentage has now shrunk to 51pc.

The survey also showed that 20pc Pakistanis feared the second wave of the virus since August mainly due to non-implementation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Except for a tiny minority of 3pc, price hike has been felt across the country and the bottom end socioeconomic classes are most worried about it. Half of the Pakistanis blamed the federal government for inflation, only 15pc considered the previous governments responsible. Moreover, four in five Pakistanis faced a cut in their income due to the pandemic.

But half of the Pakistanis are optimistic that a vaccine will be available before the end of 2020. Moreover, a 25pc increase in the acceptance of the vaccine was observed as three in five people were found eager to get vaccinated. Majority of those who said they will not get themselves vaccinated feared about its side effects.

Ipsos Managing Director Abdul Sattar Babar told Dawn that it was the ninth survey since February and every time the sample size was over 1000.

Replying to a question, he said globally such surveys are held online but in Pakistan only 25pc people use the internet so it was decided to hold the survey through phone calls as over 70pc people use mobile phones.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2020

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