Juzoor for Health and Social Development, in collaboration with Jerusalem Media and Communications Centre, conducted a poll to examine public awareness and perceptions regarding the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in Palestine, as well as changes in behaviors, and trust in the government’s handling of the outbreak.
The sample size of 600 was estimated based on confidence level (95%), confidence interval (4), and population size (1714620 Palestinian adults living in the West Bank) . Multistage random sampling was used to randomly select 600 Palestinians 18 years and older residing in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Phone numbers were randomly generated for each district to select households. One participant was then randomly selected from each household using the Kish Table. Phone interviews lasted around 10 minutes, and the response rate was 83%. Data was collected between March 29-31, 2020.
Around 52% of poll respondents were female; the mean age of respondents was 40 years; 26% were single and 68% were married; 57% had completed their education up to high school; 10% were students; around 30% were employed; 58% operated their own private business; and 8% were unemployed.
Main FindingsBased on the poll, there is a general level of awareness regarding the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in Palestine. While 81% of respondents see COVID-19 as a real threat, 16% believe its risk is generally exaggerated. According to the poll, 54% of those asked believe that the situation will worsen in the coming period, while 36% believe that the worst of the outbreak has passed. Around 69% of respondents reported knowing a lot about the outbreak, 88% knew that COVID-19 may be asymptomatic, and more than 87% were able to correctly identify common symptoms of the virus. Furthermore, 85% of respondents were concerned/very concerned about the outbreak of the virus in Palestine, and around 78% were concerned/very concerned about its spread to themselves or to a close family member.
Regarding preventative measures, 93% had been practicing social distancing, and 91% reported that they now wash their hands more frequently. 20% of shisha smokers quit shisha as a result of the outbreak. When asked who they would call first or go to if they suspected they or a family member had a symptom of the virus, 49% said they would call the Ministry of Health, 20% said a physician, 18% said they would go to the hospital, and 13% said they would call the designated hotline. When asked about the number they would call, however, only two respondents listed the correct number.
Overall, based on the poll findings, people support the government’s handling of the outbreak: 96% trust the government’s response, 88% trust the results of laboratory tests for the virus, and 96% support the Palestinian government imposing a total curfew on the West Bank and Gaza Strip if it is necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19.