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General Public Knowledge of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) at Early Stages of the Pandemic: A Random Online Survey in Saudi Arabia

Authors Alqahtani A, Aldahish A, Krishnaraju V, Alqarni M, Al-Sheikh Hassan M

Received 6 January 2021

Accepted for publication 18 February 2021

Published 12 March 2021 Volume 2021:15 Pages 601—609


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Ali Alqahtani,1 Afaf Aldahish,1 V Krishnaraju,1 Mona Alqarni,2 Mohammed Al-Sheikh Hassan3

1Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, King Khalid University, Abha, Saudi Arabia; 2Medical Services Company by AbbVie Biopharmaceutical, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; 3Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

Correspondence: Mohammed Al-Sheikh Hassan
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH, UK
Email [email protected]

Background: A novel coronavirus was identified at the end of 2019 in Wuhan City, China. Later, it was named as coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and declared a pandemic in March 2020. Saudi and global health agencies have provided various COVID-19 knowledge tools and facts to the general public. Therefore, this study aims to assess COVID-19 knowledge among the general public in Saudi Arabia at the early stages of the pandemic.
Participants and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in March 2020 in Saudi Arabia. The study included 1006 participants who responded to a random online COVID-19 public knowledge questionnaire that included five sections: demographic characteristics, general knowledge, prevention practices, home quarantine measures, and knowledge of governmental restrictions. Three levels of knowledge were established: excellent, intermediate, and poor. Differences in the percentages of participants with different knowledge levels by the demographic variables were analyzed using the chi-square test.
Results: Regarding overall general knowledge of COVID-19, 75%, 24%, and 1% of the participants had excellent, intermediate, and poor knowledge levels, respectively. Knowledge levels were significantly different by nationality and age (P=0.027 and 0.008, respectively). Most participants (98.4%) reported excellent knowledge of prevention practices, with no statistically significant differences among groups (P> 0.005). Older age groups reported higher knowledge of home quarantine measures (86.6% and 86.4% of the 51– 60 and older than 60 age groups, respectively, P=0.001).
Conclusion and Recommendations: High levels of knowledge about the virus, including prevention practices, are essential. The provision of COVID-19 facts and knowledge tools should be focused on younger generations to enhance compliance with the governmental restrictions required to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Keywords: coronavirus, COVID-19, knowledge, prevention, quarantine, pandemic, Saudi Arabia

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