Workers admit to safety concerns on returning to offices as community quarantine eased

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Bike commuters navigate through traffic as they carefully cross the EDSA-Aurora intersection in Quezon City during the first day of work for some essential employees on Monday. -- PHILIPPINE STAR/MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

MILLIONS of people returning to the workforce after the easing of quarantine remain fearful of possibly contracting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a health maintenance organization said, citing the results of a survey.

PhilhealthCare, Inc. (PhilCare) said 77% of respondents had concerns about their safety when leaving home to perform on-site work.

“Nearly 60% of respondents said they were not comfortable about going to work. In fact, 77% of them did not feel comfortable leaving their homes with the ongoing pandemic,” PhilCare said in a statement Monday.

Most respondents were unemployed during the survey, with 22.75% of respondents in the services sector, 11% laborers, and 12.5% professionals.

The study surveyed in 400 respondents on May 10–14 by telephone. PhilCare conducted the survey with University of the Philippines Professor and the study’s lead researcher Fernando D. Paragas.

Apart from going back to work, the respondents also said they had similar safety concerns going to the mall (88.75%), restaurants (87.75%), taking holidays (86%), and hospitals (70.75%).

Another 400 respondents will be interviewed and added to the sample, PhilCare added.

PhilCare president and CEO Jaeger L. Tanco said in a statement, “All throughout the quarantine, all we had were assumptions about how Filipinos feel and think about COVID-19. Once complete, this survey should enable employers and even policymakers to come up with measures that will help employees cope with the situation.” — Gillian M. Cortez