The Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI), a social scientific survey research initiative of Qatar University, surveyed 2,131 individuals, including Qatari nationals, white-collar and blue-collar expatriates about the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. The survey started on 12 March till 14 March 2020.
The survey is based on a nationally representative sample interviewed by telephone in ten different languages. SESRI interviewers collected answers in the short survey that revealed both Qataris and resident expatriates to be very aware of the Coronavirus COVID-19 and concerned about its possible impact.
The Coronavirus COVID-19 Quick Poll
The majority of Qatari nationals, white-collar and blue-collar expatriates are well aware of the Coronavirus.
Overall, the vast majority of Qatari nationals, white-collar and blue-collar expatriates are well aware of the Coronavirus COVID-19. Moreover, 97% of Qatari nationals, 94% of white-collar and 87% of blue-collar workers said they have heard or read some or a lot about the Coronavirus outbreak. Qatari nationals (84%) and white-collar expatriate workers (79%) were more likely to say that they have heard or read a lot about the Coronavirus as compared to blue-collar expatriate workers (56%).
How much, if anything, have you heard or read about the recent Coronavirus outbreak?
Television, Twitter, Facebook, and word of mouth are the most frequently mentioned main sources of information about the Coronavirus pandemic. For Qataris, television (31%) and Twitter (18%) are the most mentioned main sources of information, while for white-collar expatriates, television (23%) and Facebook (20%) are the main sources of information. Facebook (31%) and word of mouth (23%) are mentioned the main sources of information about the Coronavirus outbreak for blue-collar expatriates. Other sources of information for respondents include other social media platforms, newspapers, and the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH).
What is your main source of information about the Coronavirus?
The majority of Qatari nationals, white-collar and blue-collar expatriates are concerned about the negative impacts of the Coronavirus.
Qatari nationals (62%), white-collar (71%) and blue-collar expatriates (74%) in large numbers said they are either very or somewhat concerned that the Coronavirus will have a negative impact on the economy of Qatar. Blue-collar expatriates (46%) are significantly more likely to be very concerned, as compared to white-collar expatriates (36%) and Qatari nationals (28%). Overall, Qataris are least likely to be concerned about the negative impact of the Coronavirus on the economy of Qatar.
How concerned, if at all, are you that the Coronavirus will have a negative impact on the economy of Qatar?
All respondents were also asked about their level of concern about a possible widespread outbreak of the Coronavirus in Qatar. Nearly two-thirds of all respondents reported being somewhat or very concerned (62% for Qataris; 65% for white-collar expatriates; and 68% for blue-collar expatriates). Once again, blue-collar expatriates (40%) were more likely to be very concerned as compared to Qataris (31%) and white-collar workers (33%).
How concerned, if at all, are you that there will be a widespread outbreak of the Coronavirus in Qatar?
With regard to the respondents’ level of concern about themselves or someone in their family falling sick due the Coronavirus, all groups expressed concerns (67% of Qataris, 73% of white-collar expatriates, and 67% of blue-collar expatriates). Overall, Qatari nationals (76%) were more likely to be somewhat or very concerned in comparison to blue-collar expatriates (67%).
How concerned, if at all, are you that you or someone in your family will get sick from the Coronavirus?
In general, women reported higher levels of concern about a possible widespread outbreak of the Coronavirus in Qatar, and even more so about the possibility that they or their family members might contract the virus. Similarly, younger respondents were more likely to be concerned about the negative impact of the Coronavirus on the economy of Qatar, its widespread outbreak, and the possibility of themselves or their family members contracting the virus. While blue-collar expatriates said they know less about Coronavirus, they expressed more concern about its effects on the economy and about the potential for an outbreak. This suggests that their lack of access/exposure to information may be driving their concern, and that providing more accurate information might reduce their level of worry. Washing hands regularly and using hand sanitizers are the most mentioned precautionary measures taken by all respondents to protect themselves and their families against the Coronavirus.
While all groups of respondents mentioned washing hands regularly and using hand sanitizers, blue-collar workers were more likely to mention washing hands regularly as a precautionary measure (84%), as compared to white-collar workers (76%) and Qataris (67%). However, blue-collar workers (46%) were least likely to report using hand sanitizers as a precautionary measure (vs 68% for Qataris and 62% for white-collar expatriates). This is, presumably, because they have less access to hand sanitizers.
About half of Qataris (49%) and white-collar expatriates (54%) and slightly less than half blue-collar expatriates (42%) also mentioned avoiding public places such as malls, mosques, and shopping centers. Similarly, 50% of Qataris, 40% of white-collar and 39% of blue-collar expatriates said they avoid public gatherings including majlis, weddings, funerals, and Friday prayers. Interestingly, nearly two-thirds of blue-collar expatriates (66%) said they use protective masks as compared 29% of white-collar expatriates and 13% of Qataris. Blue-collar expatriates, due to the nature of their living and workplace environment, are more likely to interact with crowds of people. Other precautionary measures implemented by the respondents include avoiding handshakes, kissing on the forehead, nose, and cheeks.
Statement by Prof. Hassan Al-Sayed, SESRI Director
Prof. Hassan Al-Sayed, Director of the Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI) highlighted the importance of this survey at this particular point in time. The survey identifies the extent of awareness about the Coronavirus COVID-19 and precautionary measures taken by Qatar’s citizens and residents. Prof. Hassan added that “surveys of this kind inform policy and decision-makers about the public’s feedback and this helps in mitigating this pandemic. Prof. Hassan expressed thanks to all those who participated in the survey, which was conducted through the Institute's Call Center.
The Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI), a social scientific survey research initiative of Qatar University, was established in October 2008 with enthusiastic support from the leadership of Qatar University. SESRI's mission is to provide sound and reliable data to guide policy formulation, priority-setting, and evidence-based planning in the social and economic sectors.
The Institute's research agenda spans a wide range of substantive areas of importance to Qatari society, including labor and employment, modernization and shifts in social values, education, health, family structure, and the impact of social and traditional media. At the same time, SESRI works to place results from Qatar into a wider context through participation in regional and international survey projects, including the widely-utilized World Values Survey.
The Institute has assembled a highly qualified staff with diverse research interests, a wealth of professional experiences, and, above all, a shared vision and commitment to the importance of conducting high quality survey research that serves people. Indeed, the core values guiding our work are independence, public service, cooperation with existing research initiatives, and transfer of knowledge and skills to build the capacity of the next generation of young Qatari social science researchers.
SESRI conducted this Coronavirus Poll via telephone with 2,131 respondents including Qatari nationals (726) and resident white-collar (750) and blue-collar expatriates (655) aged 18 years and older. The survey was fielded between Thursday March 12 to Saturday March 14, 2020, with a response rate of 50.7 percent and a maximum sampling error of +/- 3.2 percentage points. The calculation of this sampling error takes into account the design effects. The final dataset was weighted to adjust for probability of selection and non-response. SESRI thanks everyone who participated to ensure that public opinion would be fairly represented.
Source: Qatar University