With the nation moving back to Phase 2 restrictions following the recent rise of community cases, YouGov’s COVID-19 tracker looks at how Singaporeans perceptions have changed since the start of the pandemic.
YouGov began tracking Singaporeans perception on the government’s handling of the COVID-19 virus since 5 May 2020. On this date, three quarters (74%) of Singaporeans felt the government was handling the situation well and the remaining three quarters (23%) felt they were handling it badly. During this period, the majority of cases were made up of foreign workers living in dormitories, which sparked criticism on the living conditions of foreign workers. The government was quick to respond, by rolling out mass testing for foreign workers living in dormitories and by early June announced they would build new dormitories with improved living standards. However, in-spite reassurance from the government that most migrant workers were expected to be cleared of coronavirus by end-July, on 16 July 2020 YouGov data showed the number of Singaporeans who felt the government was handling the virus well fell to 70%.
Following mid-July however, there was a steady increase of people saying the government was handling the situation well, and by 17 December 2020 – a few days after the Prime Minister’s announcement that the nation would be moving to Phase 3 re-opening, a whopping 88% of Singaporeans felt that the government was handling the pandemic well. This trend continued throughout the first quarter of the year and peaked at 90% on 8 April 2021.
Singapore enjoyed a few months of zero community cases, lauded by global press as “the best place to live during COVID”. However, but by late April, there were a rise of cases and reports of a possible cluster at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. On 6 May 2021, the number of Singaporeans who felt the government were handling the pandemic well had fallen to eight in ten (79%). Around this time, media reports emerged of Tan Tock Seng staff testing positive for the India variant of the virus, and the government re-introduced tighter measures to stop the spread. However, by 20 May 2021, the number of Singaporeans who felt the government were handling the situation well had fallen to an all-time low – coming at 69%.
YouGov also tracked the national outlook of the COVID-19 situation since October 2020. Since tracking national outlook, the number of Singaporeans who felt the situation was getting better hovered above 80%, dropping to the lowest of 73% on 28 January 2021. However, by 22 April 2021, this had fallen to only two-thirds (67%) of Singaporeans finding that the situation was improving. At the same time, the number of Singaporeans who felt the situation was getting worse had risen to 20%. By 6 May 2021, the number of Singaporeans who found that the situation was getting worse (57%) outweighed the number who had a positive outlook (32%). The most recent data shows an increasingly pessimistic national outlook, with a record three quarter (76%) thinking the COVID-19 situation in Singapore is getting worse.
Across six other ASEAN nations however, it is Malaysians that are feeling the most negatively about the pandemic. A whopping nine in ten (89%) feel the situation is getting worse, followed by Thais (82%) and Singaporeans (76%). Conversely, Indonesians are the most optimistic with over half (53%) saying the situation nationally is improving, followed by Filipinos (46%).