Citizens with chronic diseases tend to be more concerned about coronavirus

Keeping a distance of 1-3m from the interlocutor is a measure that is the biggest challenge for the citizens of the three recommended #DistanceHandsMask

Jelena Perovic
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UNICEF Crna Gora
10 June 2020

PODGORICA, 13 May 2020 – Similar to the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, almost all citizens (96%) of Montenegro report that they are informed on this topic, while the percentage of those who are worried that they or their loved ones could contract the virus dropped from 81% in March to 56% during last week's survey. If a vaccine against coronavirus were developed, one-third of Montenegrin citizens would get vaccinated – these are mostly those citizens who are more concerned about the risk of contracting the virus. Among them are those with chronic diseases and to whom this virus poses a much more serious health threat.

The sixth survey conducted by Ipsos, with the support of UNICEF, during the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, shows that most Montenegrins are applying various measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, such as keeping their hands and face clean, avoiding home visits, wearing facemasks, frequently using disinfectants, as well as avoiding shaking hands with others. Wearing gloves and avoiding contact with loved ones rank lowest – this is done by a little less than half of the respondents. People with chronic diseases are avoiding going to stores, pharmacies, and places visited by many people more often. In addition, they are avoiding physical contact with their loved ones in order to protect themselves from coronavirus.

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UNICEF Crna Gora

Bearing in mind that during the recent period, citizens were publicly being told that the best prevention is adherence to three measures – more frequent hand washing, keeping their distance, and wearing masks – the fact that two-thirds of citizens say that they are adhering to all three measures indicates that this message has reached the majority, but it also indicates that one in every three citizens is not practicing one of these three measures. Most citizens are adhering to only two measures – more frequent hand washing and wearing masks (80%), which indicates that keeping a distance of 1‒3 m from one’s interlocutor is a measure that is the biggest challenge for citizens out of the three preventive measures recommended in recent weeks. Almost a quarter of citizens say that they are not keeping their distance from their interlocutor.

Despite the mental health challenges posed by restrictions on movement during the coronavirus crisis, almost two-thirds of Montenegrin citizens say they felt calm and happy during this period. Yet one in every five citizens has been angry, and just less than one-fifth have felt fear, sadness, and loneliness. Emotions such as anger, loneliness, fear and sadness have been more common among citizens who have a chronic illness. Slightly less than one-third were bored, and among them were more often younger people and citizens who consumed tobacco to a greater extent during this period. Specifically, one out of two citizens who say they have been bored consumed tobacco, while about two-fifths of citizens across the country did the same.

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UNICEF Crna Gora

More than one-half of the Montenegrin citizens surveyed say they have eaten fresh fruit and vegetables every day since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. However, most citizens consumed unhealthy foods, such as sweets and salty snacks during this period, while one in three ate fast food, pizzas, fries, burgers, and drank alcohol, and slightly less than half consumed carbonated beverages. Citizens with chronic diseases more often stated that they were not consuming sweets, carbonated drinks, or similar unhealthy products. Nearly half of the citizens plan to start taking regular walks in the next week – over two-fifths to see family and friends, while one-quarter intend to start a diet or reduce their food intake.

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UNICEF Crna Gora

Eight out of 10 citizens believe that Montenegro should open up its borders. Seven out of 10 citizens would travel to destinations in Montenegro during the summer, while almost two-thirds of citizens do not plan to travel abroad as tourists during this summer. Citizens with chronic diseases state more frequently that they do not intend to travel as tourists either in Montenegro or abroad during the summer.

A half of citizens are of the opinion that coronavirus will not return this year. However, most respondents believe that viruses similar to coronavirus will become a common occurrence in the next 10 years. Almost two-thirds of citizens believe that a coronavirus vaccine will be developed soon, while seven out of 10 Montenegrin citizens believe that vaccines represent one of the best inventions of medicine, thanks to which many infectious diseases have been eradicated.

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UNICEF Crna Gora

This is the sixth survey conducted by Ipsos, with the support of UNICEF, during the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is based on the World Health Organization methodology used around the world to assess the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of citizens regarding COVID-19. The nationally representative sample for this survey consists of 819 citizens aged 18 and over. Data collection took place through a telephone survey, with a questionnaire whose average duration was 10 minutes. The survey was conducted in the period from 26 to 28 May of the current year. The data obtained from this research will be used to develop a communication strategy for the next phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The key findings of this, as well as the previous five surveys on the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour of citizens regarding coronavirus are available on the UNICEF Montenegro website.

Stay close by keeping your distance visual
UNICEF Montenegro