Essential Report

Changing behaviour due to Covid-19

Mar 24, 2020

Q. Have you changed your behaviour in any of the following ways since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak?

    Gender Age Group Location
  Total Male Female 18-34 35-54 55+ Capital Non-Capital
Increased personal hygiene measures (e.g. hand washing) 72% 70% 74% 72% 67% 76% 73% 70%
Limited attending social spaces, shops, restaurants or group events 60% 56% 63% 60% 58% 61% 61% 56%
Stopped physical greetings (e.g. shaking hands, kissing, hugging) 60% 57% 63% 57% 57% 65% 60% 60%
Bought additional groceries to stock-up 33% 32% 35% 38% 36% 27% 37% 25%
Reduced use of cash to pay for purchases 23% 20% 25% 30% 23% 17% 24% 19%
Changed working patterns (e.g. changed hours, or working from home) 20% 24% 17% 33% 24% 6% 23% 14%
None of these 12% 13% 11% 8% 15% 13% 10% 16%
Base (n) 1,034 519 515 342 327 365 703 331
  • Since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, a majority of people have increased their personal hygiene (72%), limited their social interactions (60%) and reduced physical greetings (60%). A third of people say they have stocked up on groceries (33%).
  • Younger people aged 18-34 were more likely to have changed their working patterns (33%) and reduced using cash for payments (30%)
  • Just 12% of people say they have not changed their behaviour as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Why do the first 28 days count?

May 29, 2012

In developing countries each year, 4 million babies die within their first 28 days of life. The first few days of life are crucial to survival with babies 500 times more likely to die in their first day of life than once they reach one month old. During this time, simple measures like hygiene, supervision and care can mean the difference between life and death.

Read more about this at the WHO media centre.

UNICEF Australia’s CEO Norman Gillespie tells 3Q that a new campaign which focuses on these first days aims to combat the problem by expanding the implementation of simple at-home interventions proven to be instrumental in preventing neonatal deaths.

In cases where babies are premature, UNICEF has instituted the Kangaroo Mother Care program, teaching mothers how to stabilise their baby’s breathing, heartbeat and temperature by wrapping them in a cloth ‘pouch’ close to the mother’s chest.

In a landmark study undertaken in India, community health workers were trained to recognise and treat serious neonatal illnesses with the result being drastically reduced child mortality rates.


Read Essential's ongoing research on the public response to Covid-19.

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