High compliance with facemasks, health protocols in NCR noted

Published January 7, 2021, 4:16 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

A huge majority of Metro Manila residents are still following the minimum health standards amid the continuing threats of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country, a survey of the OCTA Research Team showed.

The non-commissioned poll was conducted by OCTA’s team of researchers through face-to-face interviews among 600 adult respondents in the capital region from December 9 to 13.

In the survey results released on Thursday, OCTA said that 93 percent of the respondents said they wear facemasks while some 83 percent are using face shields when going out of their homes to avoid contracting the virus.

The survey also showed that 89 percent said they continue to practice proper hygiene such as regular hand washing, while compliance with physical distancing is at 73 percent.

In terms of frequency, OCTA also found a high percentage of those who regularly follow government-mandated health protocols.

Wearing facemasks is the most basic safety measure that is being observed by the respondents with 83 percent who said they are always or regularly using it.

This was followed by frequent hand washing with 77 percent of the respondents said they wash their hands several times a day, while 73 percent reported that they always practice basic cough etiquette or covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

Meanwhile, researchers noted that compliance in using face shields and following the distancing protocol is lower among Metro Manila residents.

Only 61 percent of the respondents are regularly using face shields, while 67 percent said they always maintain the minimum one-meter distancing rule.

Apart from these basic health protocols, other measures taken by the respondents to curb virus transmission include staying at home unless it is necessary to go out (52%), praying (48%), taking vitamins (44%), avoiding crowded places (37%), avoiding people who are ill (28%), avoiding domestic travel (21%), consulting a healthcare provider when not feeling well (20%), and avoiding international travel (14%).

OCTA also concluded that “observance of minimum safety protocols and practices rises with higher educational attainment except in the practice of physical or social distancing.”

Based on the results, the proportion of those who wear facemasks and face shields and observe proper hygiene is slightly higher among college graduates at 93 percent, 81 percent, and 87 percent, respectively.

On the other hand, the proportion of those who observe physical distancing was highest among elementary graduates at 80 percent, as compared to only 74% for college graduates.

Experts from OCTA earlier said that the increase in the number of new cases in the country might be due to the “deteriorating compliance” of the public with the minimum health standards because of pandemic fatigue.

The OCTA team is an independent and interdisciplinary research group that has been monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines. It is composed primarily of UP faculty members and alumni with contributors from the University of Santo Tomas and Providence College, USA.