Working Paper Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Public Perceptions and Commitment to Social Distancing during COVID-19 Pandemic: A National Survey in Saudi Arabia

Version 1 : Received: 31 May 2020 / Approved: 31 May 2020 / Online: 31 May 2020 (21:27:01 CEST)

How to cite: Aldarhami, A.; S. Bazaid, A.; W. Althomali, O.; K. Binsaleh, N. Public Perceptions and Commitment to Social Distancing during COVID-19 Pandemic: A National Survey in Saudi Arabia. Preprints 2020, 2020050517 Aldarhami, A.; S. Bazaid, A.; W. Althomali, O.; K. Binsaleh, N. Public Perceptions and Commitment to Social Distancing during COVID-19 Pandemic: A National Survey in Saudi Arabia. Preprints 2020, 2020050517

Abstract

Objectives: Social distancing measures are currently implemented to control COVID-19 pandemic in many countries, including Saudi Arabia. The aim of this study was therefore to evaluate the awareness and adherence of the Saudi population to these measures. Methods: A web-based questionnaire was designed with 16 questions (8 questions related to demographics, 3 in relation to awareness about social distancing and 5 related to overall practice of social distancing). Results: 5105 participants completed the survey [58.4% female, 66.3% young individuals (aged 18-37 years), 55.8% bachelor degree holders, and 51.0% from the western region]. The Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH) was the main source of information about COVID-19 for most participants (78.2%). High awareness (81.3%) regarding social distancing was observed, associated mainly with female participants, those from the middle region and those with high education and income. Overall implementation of social distancing was satisfactory (score 3.13/5), with 37.8% never leaving home during the home-stay period. Better adherence to social distancing was observed for female participants, higher degree holders and those aged over 38 years. Conclusions: Organised plans by the Saudi MOH have been effective in raising awareness and improving practice of social distancing among public. However, the observed lower practice of social distancing by individuals with lower education and income indicates the need for targeted interventions to achieve better outcome.

Subject Areas

COVID-19; SARS-CoV2; Public AwareneSs; Public Practice; Social Distancing and Saudi Arabia

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