Poll of 8 countries finds majority say coronavirus poses a threat to the world

A majority of people across eight major economies see coronavirus (Covid-19) as a real threat to the world, according to a new Ipsos poll.

The author(s)

  • Ben Page CEO, Ipsos
  • Kelly Beaver MBE Chief Executive, UK and Ireland
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A majority of people across eight major economies see coronavirus as a real  threat to the world.

More than one in two people in Japan (66%), Australia (61%) and the United States (55%) are concerned about the threat of the outbreak on the world. Concern is lower in Canada (42%) and Russia (42%), the United Kingdom (43%), and Germany (47%).

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos survey conducted online from February 7 to 9, 2020 among 8,001 adults aged 16 (18) -74 in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Of all the countries surveyed, the UK is the most likely to say that the virus has not been contained (55%).  Other countries that were most likely to disagree it is under control are Canada (51%), Australia (50%), and Japan (49%).

On average, only one in five people (19%) agree the coronavirus outbreak has been contained and will soon be over, while more than twice as many disagree (46%).



In the UK the majority of people support strong containment measures, such as:

  • Mandatory screening for those travelling from infected countries (87%)
  • Imposing quarantines for those infected (84%)
  • Travel bans to infected countries and stopping flights to and from China (both 68%)

Across the eight countries, there is widespread support for significant action to control the virus. On average, four in five (85%) people support mandatory screening of those traveling from infected countries, and there is a similar level of strong support for mandatory quarantine of those who could have the infection. Two-thirds (66%) of people agree the government should ban travel to and from impacted countries, and that airlines in their country should be restricted from flying to China.



Added to that, more than four in five (86%) people across these eight countries say they have seen, heard, or read a great deal or fair amount about the outbreak.  People in France (95%), the UK (92%) and Japan (92%), the most likely to have heard about the issue.

Ben Page, CEO Ipsos, says:

This new survey shows there is significant concern about Coronavirus across the world and most people in the eight countries we surveyed do not feel that the virus has been contained.  The majority of Britons support strong measures like banning flights, imposing quarantine for those infected and locking down transport systems to prevent the spread. This virus is likely to have a widespread impact upon the globe - on people’s health, but also, potentially, on the global economy, as supply chains are so much more interlinked than they were at the time of the SARs outbreak.

About the Study

These are the results of an Ipsos survey conducted February 7-9, 2020 on the Global Advisor online platform among 8,001 adults aged 18-74 in Canada and the United States and 16-74 in Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom.
The sample consists of approximately 1000+ individuals in each country. The samples in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. can be taken as representative of these countries’ general adult population under the age of 75. The sample in Russia is more urban, more educated and/or more affluent than the general population and should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of the population. The data is weighted so that each market’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data.
Where results do not sum to 100 or the ‘difference’ appears to be +/-1 more/less than the actual, this may be due to rounding, multiple responses or the exclusion of don't knows or not stated responses.
This study did not have any external sponsors or partners. It was initiated and run by Ipsos with the intention to share our understanding about the world we live in and how citizens around the globe think and feel about their world.

The author(s)

  • Ben Page CEO, Ipsos
  • Kelly Beaver MBE Chief Executive, UK and Ireland

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