Results of the 2nd survey on anti-epidemic situation of the public

2020.04.29

A. Survey Background Continuing on the first survey back in March, the DAB conducted the second survey to better understand people’s latest situation on anti-epidemic and to craft suitable recommendations for the government.

B. Abstract of survey results We have successfully interviewed 1,180 residents asking them about the mask inventory at home, comments on supply of masks and other anti-epidemic products, gathering habits, changes in income, views on the unemployment crisis and the anti-epidemic fund, mental health status, and evaluation of the government ’s epidemic prevention work.

C. Survey Analysis 1) The mask supply has increased and remains the biggest concern among the public. Most respondents have 2-3 weeks’ or even up to a month’s or more supply of masks. Although fears of a mask shortfall have been alleviated but concerns remain. 2) The prohibition on public gatherings has clear effects on reducing social contact. Most respondents have cut down on public gatherings, but around 10% of respondents said they will still attend social gatherings which is a loophole in society’s fight against the coronavirus.

3) Respondents are worried about the ongoing unemployment crisis, and they have expectations on the anti-epidemic fund. Close to 40% of respondents said their incomes have dropped drastically. Most respondents worried about themselves or their family members being unemployed and believed the fund will help to protect employment. This shows the public’s expectations of the fund on combating unemployment.

4) The survey finds that the COVID-19 outbreak has an adverse effect on respondents’ mental health. 40% of respondents said they suffered emotional disturbance due to the coronavirus. As they experience both violent riots and the virus outbreak, the mental health of residents stay at an alarming level.

5) Respondents’ appraisal of the government’s anti-epidemic measures is considered as half and half. Close to 60% of respondents are satisfied with the government’s anti-epidemic performance. It can be considered as the results of the government’s stricter measures taken at the end of March and the decrease of confirmed cases in Hong Kong from early April onwards. There are around 40% of respondents dissatisfied with the performance of the government.

D. Proposals

1) Cancel the asset review of the unemployment allowance, and provide a monthly grant of $6,000 to the unemployed for a period of not less than 3 months

2) Promote phase 3 of the anti-epidemic fund as soon as possible to cover industries which are not benefited by either phase of the fund.

  • Allow aged 65 or above employees or long terms casual labors into the Employment Support Scheme (ESS).

  • Provide $9,000/month for six months to workers without MPF contributions.

  • Expand the “Anti-epidemic Hardship Allowance” to cover all cleaning and security staff of non-residential properties.

  • Encourage more property owners to reduce rents by providing a 200% tax subsidy.

3) Improve the information dissemination arrangements for the anti-epidemic fund. Many enterprises and people complained that the information dissemination arrangements are backward and lack promotion. We urge the government to quickly set up a one-stop portal for the fund and enhance the online and offline promotion.

4) We urge the public to remain vigilant and reduce social contact. The government should examine the state of the virus outbreak before making decisions on whether to loosen or tighten the restrictions on public gathering and operation of certain businesses accordingly. Also, the rioters have recently gathered and vandalized properties that increased the risk of local transmission. We condemn these violent actions and demand them to stop at once. We support the police efforts to strictly uphold the law and protect the health and safety of the people.

5) We urge the government to speed up the digitization of public services, especially prioritize the licensing, taxation, and library services to allow residents and businesses to access these public services without showing up in person. We expect the government will be able to catch up on the large backlog of cases in recent months.

6) We continue to urge the government, manufacturers, and retailers to establish a “Public-Private Partnership (PPP) purchasing platform” for masks. Those officially recognized and funded businesses or organizations are eligible to supply masks to the public at a discount.

7) We urge the government to closely monitor the mental health of the public and improve outreach efforts to allow people in need to know where to access the psychiatric support to prevent their mental health from getting worse.

Media Inquiries: Starry LEE, DAB Chairperson (7770 0820)

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