Report: Majority of Hongkongers believe COVID-19 will have greater economic impact than SARS

The COVID-19 outbreak shows little sign of stopping any time soon and a new report shows the majority of Hongkongers believe that it could have a serious impact on the economy, yet also still trust information on social media reporting on the coronavirus strain. 

Ruder Finn has worked with Consumer Search Group (CSG) to conduct research studying the impact of COVID-19 with 525 samples in Hong Kong and 512 samples in Singapore. It found that 97% of Hong Kong respondents said the outbreak will have a negative impact on the economy, while 59% went further saying the impact would be "very negative". However, respondents from Singapore were slightly more optimistic than their counterparts in Hong Kong, with 86% of Singaporean respondents saying the country would be impacted by the epidemic. Only one-fourth said the effects of the outbreak on the economy would be very negative. 

There have been comparisons between COVID-19 and SARS. According to the report, 82% of Hongkongers believed that the outbreak of COVID-19 would cause a greater economic impact than SARS, while 47% said the outbreak would be "a lot worse than SARS". 

Singaporeans again had a slightly more positive view than Hongkongers on this question, as 73% said the outbreak would cause a greater economic impact than SARS, with only 27% thinking the impact would be a lot worse. 

When it comes to information about COVID-19, Singaporeans placed less trust in social media compared to Hong Kong. 51% of Hong Kong respondents said social media was a trusted source of information about reports on COVID-19, while only 45% of Singapore respondents had the same view.  Also, while 49% of Hong Kong respondents said social media was a source of misinformation or fake news, or they were not sure if it's a trusted source, in Singapore, 55% shared the same idea. 

“It is a challenging time for all in the midst of this epidemic. Support from employers contributes towards strengthening employees’ psychological resilience. We must work together to support each other, stay flexible, and provide accurate information to give people the confidence to move forward," said Simon Tye, executive director of CSG.

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