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Only 2-3% see masks, distancing around them ahead of 2nd Covid Diwali, survey finds

LocalCircles survey seeks to establish level of compliance of Covid guidelines from survey involving 20,000 respondents from 366 districts across India.

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New Delhi: The festive season and the accompanying public gatherings and socialising seem to have taken a toll on compliance of Covid-safety protocols, with respondents to a LocalCircles survey painting a bleak picture on mask- and social-distancing-related guidelines.

According to a statement released Monday, LocalCircles — a community social media platform — received responses from 20,000 people from 366 districts across the country for the survey that was conducted late last month.

While “47 per cent respondents were from Tier 1 districts, 30 per cent were from Tier 2 districts and 23 per cent were located in Tier 3, 4 and rural districts of India”. “Sixty-five per cent of the respondents were men. while 35 per cent were women,” LocalCircles said in a statement.

While only two per cent of respondents said their city, district, or area was currently completely complying with mask guidelines, only three per cent said their city, district, or area was complying with social-distancing norms.

The survey was conducted in light of a noticeable increase in socialising, community events, and large gatherings in the days leading up to Diwali, not only in metropolises but also in smaller towns and rural areas, said the platform.

“The Centre has warned against a rise in Covid cases amidst the festive season. With the festive season at its peak, markets and temples are witnessing a huge footfall, with low compliance to mask and social-distancing norms,” the statement added.

Also read: ‘Covid not over’ — Modi govt refuses Delhi request for separate Chhath Puja guidelines

‘Drop in perception since September’

Of the 98 per cent of respondents who did not believe that their area was fully complying with Covid guidelines on wearing masks, 15 per cent said there was no compliance at all while 34 per cent said “0-30 per cent” of people in their area were compliant.

This represents a significant drop in public perceptions from September-end when 13 per cent reported high compliance to the protocol on wearing masks.

Similarly, of the 97 per cent respondents who did not believe their area was compliant with social-distancing guidelines, 38 per cent reported no social-distancing compliance, while 45 per cent said “0-30 per cent” of people in their area were complying.

The drop in public perceptions in social distancing compliance since September is slightly less significant. Six per cent had reported high social-distancing compliance when last surveyed.

The survey also questioned respondents on compliance with Covid-safety protocols during travel. While 16 per cent of respondents who travelled in October expressed the belief that mask-compliance during travel is being practised, four per cent said social distancing is in effect.

“While at airports mask compliance is reasonably high, it is nonexistent in bus stands and stations, as well as road travel and limited at railway stations,” stated LocalCircles based on feedback from respondents.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: Celebrate festivals in ‘simple manner’ — What experts said at DDMA meet over 3rd wave fear


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