By Corina Oliquino

A survey conducted by London-based think tank YouGov in partnership with the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London found 91 percent of Filipinos always wear face masks whenever they go out.

The Philippines is the second country among 29 others surveyed between June 22 and 28 with the highest percentage of citizens who always wear masks when they go out of their homes while 83 percent always wash their hands with soap and water.

Singapore topped the survey, with over 94 percent of its population always wearing a mask outdoors. Denmark, Sweden, and Finland only have two percent of their population wearing a mask outside at all times.

The survey, which provides behavioral analysis on how different populations are responding to COVID-19, only one percent of Filipinos do not wear masks outside, two percent sometimes wear masks and five percent frequently wear masks outside.

However, the survey found only 50 percent of the population could always avoid going outside to work while 58 percent of the population have the luxury to always avoid using the public transportation system.

Pinoys tagged as pasaways amid rising COVID-19 infections

In April, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque lamented the rise in COVID-19 cases then at the 5,000 mark and pleaded with the public to follow home quarantine rules and physical distancing.

“Nakikita po natin na tumaas, bumaba at pataas pa rin ang po ang COVID (cases). Nakakalungkot po na bagamat tayo po’y na-extend ng ECQ ay hindi pa rin natin nafa-flatten ang curve,” Roque said.

“Ang dami pong pasaway sa atin at dahil po diyan number one na naman tayo sa ASEAN sa dami ng COVID-19. Nakakahiya po ‘yan,” he added.

“Itigil n’yo na ‘yang pagiging pasaway, manatili kayo sa inyong mga tahanan. Dapat tayong mga Pilipino mahiya dahil nagpapakita tayo na walang disiplina.”

On June 22, President Rodrigo Duterte blamed Cebuanos for the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Cebu City, now considered as the new coronavirus hotspot in the country.

“If you get sick, sorry. There’s nothing we can do. That’s what Cebuanos do. Why are there more cases? Because you were too confident and too complacent about it. It’s like you ignored it, so it happened,” he said, and added that he was going to send Environment Sec. Roy Cimatu to oversee the COVID-19 response in Cebu province.

In an interview with ANC on July 6, new Testing czar Vince Dizon claimed other countries’ COVID-19 success is due to discipline among citizens in complying with health protocols based on a previous webinar he attended.

“We think it is testing, tracing, health care system, advancement in technology but actually, it is not. It is plain and simple discipline of the population,” he said.

“Discipline to wear masks, discipline to observe physical distancing, discipline in avoiding a situation when you will have close contact with people such as having lunch in the office together and exposing yourself,” he added, citing that discipline in observing minimum health standards is the “most important step” in flattening the COVID-19 curve.

Meanwhile, a recent study published in The Lancet and backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) showed physical distancing, face masks and eye protection reduce the spread of COVID-19 in both healthcare settings and the general community.

As of July 20, the Philippines logged 68,898 COVID-19 infections including 1835 deaths and 23,072 recoveries.