Singapore — The surge of Covid-19 cases in recent months has had a drastic and negative impact on Singaporean’s trust in the authorities’ ability to manage the pandemic.

A new survey by the Institute of Policy Studies found that by the beginning of October, Singaporeans were much less satisfied with how the authorities were handling the serious surge of Covid-19 cases compared with the situation in August.

The results of IPS’ “Living with Covid” survey were published on Thursday (Dec 2). The survey concerned respondents’ satisfaction with the government’s overall handling of Covid-19.

From the beginning to mid-August, the proportion who said they were satisfied was at 82 per cent, but by the beginning of October, it had slumped to 59 per cent.

“The decline in the proportion of those who were satisfied happened as the authorities warned of a sharp increase in community cases… The increasing daily case numbers in the thousands and the re-tightening of safety measures later most likely negatively influenced a portion of Singaporeans’ satisfaction on the government’s management of the virus,” said IPS.

The survey also found that from Oct 28 to Nov 1, the proportion of respondents who felt that the government had displayed good political leadership fell to a low of 53 per cent, although this figure has since recovered to nearly 60 per cent.

“Public discontent with the sudden rise in the  community cases, among other worries related to COVID-19, was reflected by the steep decline,” said the report.

Additionally, the survey revealed that older respondents tended to show more dissatisfaction, possibly because of persistent reminders from government figures and medical officials directed at elderly people to get vaccinated, stay home and avoid social gatherings.

“As Singapore carefully plans its next moves and learns to live with the virus, it must also balance the diverse needs of different groups with the overall needs of society,” the survey added. 

Around 500 people were polled during different periods since the pandemic began, including times when more restrictive measures were implemented as infections numbers rose.

One noteworthy result the survey showed is that almost 70 per cent of the respondents said they felt that vaccinations should be mandatory for Singaporeans and long-term residents, and over half of those who participated in the survey had a positive attitude toward having differentiated rules for the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.

The respondents were also asked whether they preferred a slower reopening of the economy to keep the death count to around two per day, or a faster reopening, which could mean a daily death rate of about six or seven cases. Over 80 per cent of the respondents opted for a slower reopening. /TISG