Poll: Kenyans back lockdown to tame spread of Covid-19

Monday, April 6th, 2020 00:00 |
Nairobi County officials fumigate streets in Embakasi estate on Saturday. Photo/PD/David Ndolo

 Majority of Kenyans support the enforcement of a total lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus disease, a survey by Infrotrak shows.

The poll released yesterday says 68 per cent of Kenyans want the government to impose a lockdown as the most effective measure to slow down the virus, whose infections in the country stood at 138 as at yesterday.

Interestingly, 52 per cent of respondents believe the government is exaggerating the Covid-19 threat while 48 per cent think the respiratory flu is just like a common cold.

Even as a huge number of those polled cast doubt on the existence of virus, 55 per cent view the pandemic as a key issue the government should address.

But despite a majority of Kenyans supporting a total lockdown like some nations have done, 35 per cent of Kenyans say they are not prepared to handle the lockdown, should it happen.

“Nairobi and North-eastern regions have the least people prepared to handle the lockdown, with 57 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively, saying they are not prepared.

Nyanza, Western and Coast follow with approximately 38 per cent saying they are not prepared should a lockdown be declared,” says the survey.

Kenyans ignorant

The poll was conducted between March 30 and April 2, where a sample of 831 respondents was interviewed. It covered 24 out of 47 counties in the country.

The poll has also brought to the fore Kenyans’ ignorance in the fight against the pandemic, with 41 per cent still saying they do not understand or believe the importance of frequent hand-washing as a preventive measure for the virus.

Another 20 per cent believe the virus cannot affect black/African people, while some 26 per cent of Kenyans do not think that the coronavirus can affect young people and children.

The survey indicates 30 per cent of Kenyans believe that everyone who gets the Covid-19 will die and another 25 per cent think that there is a cure for the virus.

Cost of living

However, a majority of the population polled are worried about the coronavirus situation in the country.

Among the issues Kenyans want the government to address as a matter of priority are the coronavirus ( 55 per cent) and food security (47 per cent).

Kenyans also want the government to pay keen attention to access to healthcare, unemployment, high cost of living and access to clean water.

The poll shows that those aged between 56 and 59 are the majority of those calling on the government to give the fight against the virus more attention at 74 per cent. Those in between 40  and 44 years are the least interested.

In terms of regions, people in Western region are less worried about the coronavirus situation in the country, followed by Coast, Nairobi, Central, Eastern, Nyanza, Rift Valley and North eastern in that order.

People living in rural areas are the majority of those supporting a total lockdown at 70 per cent with 65 per cent of people in urban area backing the idea.

On the other hand 73 per cent of self-employed people are for a complete lockdown while 70 per cent of unemployed are in support.

Most governments across the world have imposed lockdowns to combat the virus. Close to a half of the world’s population is confined to the house as lockdown is seen as the most effective measures to tame the virus spread.

    The figures: The novel coronavirus has infected more than 1.2 million people and killed more than 65,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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