At the same time, more than half of the citizens experienced difficulties with medicines and medical care during quarantine.
DEMOSCOPE Bureau of Express Monitoring of Public Opinion conducted The Coronavirus Pandemic in Kazakhstan survey. In total 1100 people were interviewed in 14 regions and cities (Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Shymkent) from 4 to 11 August 2020. The survey was held in the Kazakh and Russian languages through telephone calls to landline numbers. The survey involved 53% of men and 47% of women over 18 years old. The sampling was based on the subscriber base of stationary telephone numbers in Kazakhstan. For this sample, the maximum size of the statistical error with a 95% probability does not exceed 3%.
On March 19, a strict quarantine was introduced in Kazakhstan for the first time and an emergency regime was declared. Initially, unprecedented preventive measures appeared to be effective. However, within a month after the first lockdown was lifted in the country, the number of infected increased dramatically. The health care system turned out to be not ready for such a scenario, which caused its collapse, hospitals and doctors could not cope with the flow of patients, and an acute shortage of vital medicines was formed. The number of deaths increased, including from pneumonia of an unconfirmed type.
In this situation, the readiness of the authorities to openly publish data on the number of cases is extremely important. Reliable information is one of the most important factors in successfully combating the spread of the virus. According to an express survey by the DEMOSCOPE Bureau, more than a third of Kazakhstanis do not trust the official statistics on coronavirus. They believe that the authorities are underestimating the real number of cases in the country. On the contrary, almost half of the respondents trust the official data.
In total, 20% of Kazakhstanis believe that they, or relatives with whom they live, have had coronavirus. This follows from the results of the DEMOSCOPE survey. According to the official data, over 100,000 cases of COVID-19 have been registered in Kazakhstan. The death toll from the coronavirus in the country, according to official data 1269 (Remember, seven media outlets have joined forces to double-check and publish the list of deaths within the Umytpa.kz project).
At the same time, 32% of citizens experienced a shortage of drugs or medical care during quarantine. A quarter of the respondents encountered minor difficulties in this matter. 47% of survey participants did not experience any difficulties with medicines.
Since March 2020, DEMOSCOPE Bureau of Express Monitoring of Public Opinion has carried out three measurements to assess the effectiveness of government agencies during the pandemic.
If we compare the indicators of expectations of the population at the beginning of the epidemic, we can conclude that the number of people who highly assess the effectiveness of government agencies as a whole has decreased by half: from 33% to 14%, in the period from March to August 2020
According to March 2020 survey:
ESTIMATE the level of readiness of the authorities for the spread of coronavirus in Kazakhstan
High. Our healthcare system is ready to deal with this threat – 358 (33%)
Medium. The state does not have all the necessary administrative and medical capabilities for timely diagnosis and treatment of the disease – 380 (35%)
C. Low. The state is not ready for a pandemic. Everyone needs to individually take preventive measures – 287 (26%)
Difficult to answer – 75 (7%)
According to August 2020 survey:
HOW DO YOU ESTIMATE THE WORK OF STATE BODIES (GOVERNMENT, AKIMATS, MINISTRY OF HEALTH) DURING THE PANDEMIC?
Perfect – 151 (14%)
Medium. Some problems remained unresolved – 500 (45%)
Failure. Our government system is not ready for such situations – 343 (31%)
Difficult to answer – 106 (10%)
The results of the Demoscope poll conducted in August showed that almost half of Kazakhstanis (45%) gave an average assessment of the actions of the authorities. They believe that some of the problems remain unresolved. A third of the respondents are convinced that this is a failure, and our state system is not ready for such challenges. Only 14% of the respondents, on the contrary, believe that the authorities have coped with the task.
One of the key indicators is the opinion of citizens about the priorities of the country’s government. According to the survey, more than a third of citizens (37%) believe that the most important thing is to reduce the level of infection in the country.
26% are convinced that it is more important to eliminate the economic consequences of the pandemic: reducing unemployment, supporting business and the population. It is noteworthy that Kazakhstanis give more preference to the opportunity to communicate as usual, to see loved ones (16%) than to improve the quality of education lost due to quarantine (11%).
Undoubtedly, an important indicator is the economic well-being of citizens during the pandemic. In total, more than half of Kazakhstanis suffered from the pandemic-related economic crisis and reported a drop in income. A third of Kazakhstanis have a greatly reduced income due to quarantine. 25% experience minor financial difficulties.
The attitude of citizens to the introduction of quarantine measures directly affects their effectiveness. DEMOSCOPE data show that only 17% of citizens support tough restrictive measures. It is noteworthy that according to the survey conducted at the beginning of the pandemic, 28% of respondents were in favor of the most stringent measures. InJune, only 12% of Kazakhstanis supported the prospect of severe restrictions.
The majority of survey participants (63%) are sympathetic to quarantine. However, in their opinion, the state needs to help more people who have been left without work. A total of 17% of citizens are against restrictive measures.
The results of the poll showed that the level of trust of Kazakhstanis in the authorities has decreased since the beginning of quarantine. Probably, this was influenced by the unpopular decisions of the authorities aimed at reducing statistical indicators. Also, the perception of quarantine measures was influenced by the peak of infections, when more than half of citizens faced a shortage of drugs and medical care.
In turn, the majority of Kazakhstanis are sympathetic to restrictive measures and believe that the main task for the government now is to stabilize the situation with the coronavirus and to provide real support to the population.
The telephone survey was carried out by KT Cloud Lab LLP contact center.
When using the material, the hyperlink is required. The project is implemented by MediaNet International Centre for Journalism with the support of Konrad Adenauer Foundation Office in Kazakhstan. The survey data reflect the views of respondents. Additional information: Snezhana Tsoy, +7 (727) 292-20-46, email@example.com, www.demos.kz/old