International COVID-19 tracker update: 1 June
June 2nd, 2020, Matthew Smith

International COVID-19 tracker update: 1 June

Latest round-up of YouGov’s coronavirus survey results

Government approval falls fast in Indonesia and the Philippines…

The most notable changes in approval of the way national governments have been handling the coronavirus outbreak took place in Sweden, Philippines and Indonesia. These three countries all saw sharp drops – a nine point decrease to from 64% to 55% in Sweden, and ten point drops to 64% and 50% in the Philippines and Indonesia respectively. In the case of Indonesia this means what had been a healthy government lead last time – by 60% to 37% – has now narrowed to a near-even opinion, at 50% to 47%.

…in line with public belief in those countries that the national coronavirus situation is deteriorating

It is no coincidence that the fall in faith in the Indonesian and Filipino governments comes at the same time as a sharp drop in the belief that the coronavirus situation in those countries is getting better. Where in our last survey only 35% of Indonesians believed the national COVID-19 situation was improving, this has since fallen sharply to just 19%. This is the lowest of any country in the study – the next closest is Mexico at 25%.

Likewise, in the Philippines the number of people thinking the situation is looking more hopeful now stands at 30%, a 16-pt slump since the previous survey.

Elsewhere, there has been a 17-pt increase among Finns thinking their national coronavirus outlook is getting better, having risen to 64%. There have also been sizeable 11-pt rises in the UK (to 69%) and Singapore (to 80%).

How much does fear of being killed by coronavirus correspond with the fear of catching it?

Indonesians continue to be the most worried about the impact of coronavirus, topping the list for each of the six questions on our worry tracker. Those least likely to be worried are in the Nordic nations, Taiwan, China and Germany.

This week we’ve taken the opportunity to compare the figures from our worry tracker – which asks people how concerned they are that they might be seriously harmed by, or even die from, coronavirus – and our separate fear of catching tracker, in order to see in which countries attitudes to catching the disease seem to be synonymous with being hurt by it.

Such views are most synonymous in Europe. In France, the 53% who say they are worried about catching the disease are matched by the 53% who are concerned it will badly harm or kill them. Figures are similarly close in Germany, the UK, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, as well as in India, Australia and Indonesia.

By contrast, the countries in which fear of being hurt by the disease is much lower than fear of catching it are all in Asia. Topping the list is Vietnam, where there is a 32 point gap between the 81% who are afraid of contracting the disease and the 49% who actually worry about it having a serious health impact on themselves.

There are similarly large gaps in China, Taiwan and Thailand.

Support for various government responses to the disease is falling in the West, but not the East

Falling support for some coronavirus responses has now become apparent in some places.

In European nations, the US and Canada, support for quarantining people who have come into contact with contaminated persons is now noticeably down on its peak. For instance, in Italy 63% now support taking such action, down from 83% in mid-March.

Support for temporarily closing schools has fallen dramatically as the crisis wears on. In late March the proportion of Europeans and North Americans in support of keeping kids out of school was generally in the 70s or 80s. Such support has since slump – the highest figure is now 53% in Canada, and Germany has seen the most dramatic decrease from 78% in late March to 21% now.

There has also been a substantial fall in support across the West for cancelling routine hospital procedures in order to focus on coronavirus cases. Whereas in late March support for such a move ranged from 45% to 68% across these countries, now no more than 19% can be found to back it in any country.

It is worth noting, however, that YouGov is not seeing the same opinion in Asian nations. In fact, for the most part people in the East remain as likely to support policies to counteract coronavirus – where decreases do occur they are rarer and less pronounced than those in the West.