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Behavioural insights and attitudes on community masking during the initial spread of COVID-19 in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Med J. 2021 04; 27(2):106-112.HK

Abstract

INTRODUCTION

Community face mask use during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has considerably differed worldwide. Generally, Asians are more inclined to wear face masks during disease outbreaks. Hong Kong has emerged relatively unscathed during the initial outbreak of COVID-19, despite its dense population. Previous infectious disease outbreaks influenced the local masking behaviour and response to public health measures. Thus, local behavioural insights are important for the successful implementation of infection control measures. This study explored the behaviour and attitudes of wearing face masks in the community during the initial spread of COVID-19 in Hong Kong.

METHODS

We observed the masking behaviour of 10 211 pedestrians in several regions across Hong Kong from 1 to 29 February 2020. We supplemented the data with an online survey of 3199 respondents' views on face mask use.

RESULTS

Among pedestrians, the masking rate was 94.8%; 83.7% wore disposable surgical masks. However, 13.0% wore surgical masks incorrectly with 42.5% worn too low, exposing the nostrils or mouth; 35.5% worn 'inside-out' or 'upside-down'. Most online respondents believed in the efficacy of wearing face mask for protection (94.6%) and prevention of community spread (96.6%). Surprisingly, 78.9% reused their mask; more respondents obtained information from social media (65.9%) than from government websites (23.2%).

CONCLUSIONS

In Hong Kong, members of the population are motivated to wear masks and believe in the effectiveness of face masks against disease spread. However, a high mask reuse rate and errors in masking techniques were observed. Information on government websites should be enhanced and their accessibility should be improved.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Health Technology and Informatics, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.Department of Health Technology and Informatics, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.Tasmanian School of Medicine, University of Tasmania, Hobart Tasmania 7001, Australia.Department of Health Technology and Informatics, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.Department of Health Technology and Informatics, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

33762440

Citation

Tam, V C W., et al. "Behavioural Insights and Attitudes On Community Masking During the Initial Spread of COVID-19 in Hong Kong." Hong Kong Medical Journal = Xianggang Yi Xue Za Zhi, vol. 27, no. 2, 2021, pp. 106-112.
Tam VCW, Tam SY, Khaw ML, et al. Behavioural insights and attitudes on community masking during the initial spread of COVID-19 in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Med J. 2021;27(2):106-112.
Tam, V. C. W., Tam, S. Y., Khaw, M. L., Law, H. K. W., Chan, C. P. L., & Lee, S. W. Y. (2021). Behavioural insights and attitudes on community masking during the initial spread of COVID-19 in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Medical Journal = Xianggang Yi Xue Za Zhi, 27(2), 106-112. https://doi.org/10.12809/hkmj209015
Tam VCW, et al. Behavioural Insights and Attitudes On Community Masking During the Initial Spread of COVID-19 in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Med J. 2021;27(2):106-112. PubMed PMID: 33762440.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Behavioural insights and attitudes on community masking during the initial spread of COVID-19 in Hong Kong. AU - Tam,V C W, AU - Tam,S Y, AU - Khaw,M L, AU - Law,H K W, AU - Chan,C P L, AU - Lee,S W Y, Y1 - 2021/03/25/ PY - 2021/3/26/pubmed PY - 2021/5/7/medline PY - 2021/3/25/entrez KW - COVID-19 KW - Health behavior KW - Infection control KW - Masks SP - 106 EP - 112 JF - Hong Kong medical journal = Xianggang yi xue za zhi JO - Hong Kong Med J VL - 27 IS - 2 N2 - INTRODUCTION: Community face mask use during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has considerably differed worldwide. Generally, Asians are more inclined to wear face masks during disease outbreaks. Hong Kong has emerged relatively unscathed during the initial outbreak of COVID-19, despite its dense population. Previous infectious disease outbreaks influenced the local masking behaviour and response to public health measures. Thus, local behavioural insights are important for the successful implementation of infection control measures. This study explored the behaviour and attitudes of wearing face masks in the community during the initial spread of COVID-19 in Hong Kong. METHODS: We observed the masking behaviour of 10 211 pedestrians in several regions across Hong Kong from 1 to 29 February 2020. We supplemented the data with an online survey of 3199 respondents' views on face mask use. RESULTS: Among pedestrians, the masking rate was 94.8%; 83.7% wore disposable surgical masks. However, 13.0% wore surgical masks incorrectly with 42.5% worn too low, exposing the nostrils or mouth; 35.5% worn 'inside-out' or 'upside-down'. Most online respondents believed in the efficacy of wearing face mask for protection (94.6%) and prevention of community spread (96.6%). Surprisingly, 78.9% reused their mask; more respondents obtained information from social media (65.9%) than from government websites (23.2%). CONCLUSIONS: In Hong Kong, members of the population are motivated to wear masks and believe in the effectiveness of face masks against disease spread. However, a high mask reuse rate and errors in masking techniques were observed. Information on government websites should be enhanced and their accessibility should be improved. SN - 1024-2708 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/33762440/Behavioural_insights_and_attitudes_on_community_masking_during_the_initial_spread_of_COVID_19_in_Hong_Kong_ L2 - http://www.hkmj.org/abstracts/v27n2/106.htm DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -