Perspectives on public health interventions in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand
Pan-ngum W., Poomchaichote T., Peerawaranun P., Kulpijit N., Osterrieder A., Waithira N., Mukaka M., Naemiratch B., Chanviriyavuth R., Asarath S-A., Ruangkajorn S., Kannika N., Cheah PY.
Background: Any government needs to react quickly to a pandemic and make decisions on healthcare interventions locally and internationally with little information regarding the perceptions of people and the reactions they may receive during the implementation of restrictions. Methods: We report an anonymous online survey in Thailand conducted in May 2020 to assess public perceptions of three interventions in the Thai context: isolation, quarantine and social distancing. A total of 1,020 participants, of whom 52% were women, responded to the survey. Results: Loss of income was the main concern among respondents (>80% for all provinces in Thailand). Traditional media and social media were important channels for communication during the pandemic. A total of 92% of respondents reported that they changed their social behaviour even before the implementation of government policy with 94% reporting they performed social distancing, 97% reported using personal protective equipment such as masks and 95% reported using sanitizer products. Conclusions: This study showed a high level of compliance from individuals with government enforced or voluntarily controls such as quarantine, isolation and social distancing in Thailand. The findings from this study can be used to inform future government measures to control the pandemic and to shape communication strategies.