Study conducted by Aga Khan University (AKU) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong revealed that “One in six Pakistani adults believe that they and their families were safe from the coronavirus even without any preventive measures”. Women shop at a market after the government eased the lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Rawalpindi on May 9, 2020. (Photo by Farooq NAEEM / AFP)Pakistani researchers conducted an online survey of 1,406 adults across Pakistan over the first two weeks of May 2020 and compared the results with a similar study in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is extensively regarded as a COVID-19 containment success story. It has seen just 2,770 cases and 22 deaths in 6 months despite being a part of China and never imposing a lockdown. In contrast, data collected in May 2020 showed Pakistan’s rate of infections per 100,000 people at 137 against Hong Kong’s 33 while Pakistan’s fatality rate per 100,000 was also three times higher at 21 despite imposing wide-ranging lockdowns across the country.Comparing risk perceptions, anxiety levels and community response to COVID-19 in Pakistan and Hong Kong can help assess whether Pakistan is prepared to take the strict preventive measures needed to control the spread of the disease, said researchers from AKU’s department of community health sciences. Similarly, nearly seven out of ten Pakistanis, or 68 percent, whispered they had a high or very high chance of surviving the disease against just 36 percent of respondents from Hong Kong. Such perceptions about the risk of contracting COVID-19 and its complications contributes to preventive conduct such as wearing face masks, which are almost universally worn in Hong Kong.Pakistanis were also less likely to ask for information on preventive measures and how to detect COVID-19 symptoms than their counterparts in Hong Kong. In general, Pakistani men had a lower risk perception of COVID-19 compared to women. Despite a government-imposed lockdown only 71 per cent of men avoided going out in contrast to 87 per cent of women. Moreover, 62 per cent of women reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety compared to 50 per cent of men. Men in Pakistan preferred to acquire information about the pandemic from their family and friends while women in the country viewed information from doctors as being more trustworthy.