Sunday Apr 12 2020
Web Desk

Only 38% Pakistanis can recall state helpline for coronavirus: report

Web Desk
Two men stand outside a mosque after prayers observing the starting time of a market curfew amid a province-wide lockdown to contain the novel coronavirus in Karachi, Pakistan, April 4, 2020. uz Zaman

A recent study by a private data-supplying company Ipsos Tracker shows how the state’s public awareness messages pertaining to the ongoing coronavirus and its precautions have failed to reach a large chunk of the population in Pakistan.

The social media analytics report surveyed more than 1,000 people in Pakistan's urban and rural areas. As per its findings, 89% of those surveyed washed their hands regularly after returning home. However, one-third had not stopped shaking hands and physical contacts.

For the public at large, information regarding the deadly virus was reaching them via local news channels and private sector companies, the report states. A meager 5% could recall government messages.

Troublingly, only 38% could correctly name the official helpline (1166) to report COVID-19 symptoms. Some, around 2%, instead, believed that the number to call was 911.

Then, there were religious and scientific misconceptions related to the virus, which were widespread.

A whopping 82% of those polled believed they can remain protected from the virus if they preform wudu (ablution) five times a day, while 67% insisted on inhaling steam regularly to ward off the sickness.

Another 67% held the belief that since God has control over the spread, congregational prayers cannot be a source of the infection.

YouTube, the report adds, played a significant role in disseminating such religious misconceptions. People surveyed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were more prone to holding such views.