2773202
Members of the public wait in line outside the San Fernando Teaching Hospital waiting for their names to be called yesterday.

Government has received high marks for its handling of COVID-19 and the economic and social fall-out from the pandemic.

A recently completed Market Facts and Opinion (MFO) online survey found overall that citizens were satisfied with the Government’s response to the virus.

The survey, published yesterday, found that eight out of tenpeople were satisfied with the Government’s response to treating with COVID-19.

“The results of the study show both the high level of trust in the Government and attention paid to the messaging being put forward and national uncertainty. The satisfaction and confidence in the Government’s actions further affirms public commitment to the collective interest of Trinidad and Tobago,” the MFO survey reported.

The survey found that even in the current uncertain situation, the proportion of those expressing optimism remains relatively the same as in previous years.

“This is supported by the confidence and satisfaction with Government measures and the levels of personal responsibility taken to stop the virus’ spread. The economic concerns, however, have the potential to erode these sentiments of optimism depending on the duration of the effects of the pandemic,” the survey found.

According to the findings, six in ten people indicated satisfaction with Government’s financial and social relief efforts.

“Persons who express dissatisfaction with the Government’s measures are more likely to be those who have experienced a reduction or loss of earnings within recent times,” the survey found.

According to the survey, while about two in ten people suffered outright job loss, seven in ten indicated that they were still able to maintain loan payments.

The survey said concerns about economic instability were at the forefront for most responders,

It also found that there was strong support for the “closure of borders, schools and non-essential businesses. This exemplifies the overall population’s willingness to prioritise the mitigation of contact spread.”

The survey also found that there was an increased purchasing of non-perishable items, which it said is synonymous with disaster preparedness.

“(It) further reflects the sentiment of uncertainty. As many prepare for ‘what if’ both physically and financially, emphasis is placed on the shelf-stable life of the products purchased,” it said.

The survey found that while there was a move toward online entertainment, there was no major jump in the numbers utilising online payment services.

But while Government was given high marks, the local media took a hit.

“Two-thirds of the sample perceive all other local media sources to be ‘somewhat trustworthy’. The television channels are regarded as the top of this list,” the survey said.

It found that word of mouth and other local sites are considered the least trustworthy with at least three in ten stating they are ‘not very trustworthy’.

Respondents seemed to have more confidence in international media, as it was found to be the top source of information on COVID-19.

But despite the confidence in international media, the survey said “persons are less likely to acknowledge these sources as very trustworthy compared to the local MOH (Ministry of Health) briefings.”

“Four in ten persons regard the international medical community as ‘very trustworthy’, while almost three in ten persons consider international news sites and international media ‘very trustworthy’. ‘Other’ international sites, which includes websites and social media, have the largest incidence of persons finding them ‘not very trustworthy,” it found.