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Public Perceptions and Commitment to Social Distancing “Staying-at-Home” During COVID-19 Pandemic: A National Survey in Saudi Arabia

Authors Aldarhami A, Bazaid AS, Althomali OW, Binsaleh NK

Received 27 June 2020

Accepted for publication 8 September 2020

Published 22 September 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 677—686


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Abdu Aldarhami,1 Abdulrahman S Bazaid,2 Omar W Althomali,2 Naif K Binsaleh2

1Clinical Laboratory Sciences Department, Turabah University College, Taif University, Turabah, Saudi Arabia; 2College of Applied Medical Sciences, University of Ha’il, Ha’il, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence: Abdu Aldarhami
Clinical Laboratory Sciences Department, Turabah University College, Taif University, Turabah, Saudi Arabia
Tel +966(0)128224366

Objective: Social distancing measures, such as stay-at-home, are currently implemented to control the 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 (eight questions related to demographics, three related to the awareness of social distancing (stay-at-home) and five related to the overall practice of social distancing).
Results: A total of 5105 participants completed the survey [58.4% females, 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 of the participants (78.2%). High awareness (81.3%) regarding stay-at-home was observed, associated mainly with female participants, those from the middle region and those with a high education and income. The overall implementation of social distancing was satisfactory (score 3.13/5), with 37.8% never leaving home during the stay-at-home period. Better adherence to social distancing was observed among female participants, higher degree holders and those aged over 38 years.
Conclusion: Organised plans by the Saudi MOH have been effective in raising awareness and improving the practice of social distancing among public. However, the observed lower practice of social distancing by individuals with a lower education and income indicates the need for targeted interventions to achieve better outcomes.

Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV2, public awareness, public practice, social distancing, Saudi Arabia

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