Willingness and beliefs associated with reporting travel history to high-risk coronavirus disease 2019 epidemic regions among the Chinese public: a cross-sectional study Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • BACKGROUND:The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) that first occurred in Wuhan, China, is currently spreading throughout China. The majority of infected patients either traveled to Wuhan or came into contact with an infected person from Wuhan. Investigating members of the public with a travel history to Wuhan became the primary focus of the Chinese government's epidemic prevention and control measures, but several instances of withheld histories were uncovered as localized clusters of infections broke out. This study investigated the public's willingness and beliefs associated with reporting travel history to high-risk epidemic regions, to provide effective suggestions and measures for encouraging travel reporting. METHODS:A cross-sectional study was conducted online between February 12 and 19, 2020. Descriptive analysis, chi-squared test, and Fisher's exact test were used to identify socio-demographic factors and beliefs associated with reporting, as well as their impact on the willingness to report on travel history to high-risk epidemic regions. RESULTS:Of the 1344 respondents, 91 (6.77%) expressed an inclination to deliberately withhold travel history. Those who understood the benefits of reporting and the legal consequences for deliberately withholding information, showed greater willingness to report their history (P < 0.05); conversely, those who believed reporting would stigmatize them and feared being quarantined after reporting showed less willingness to report (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS:As any incident of withheld history can have unpredictable outcomes, the proportion of people who deliberately withhold information deserves attention. Appropriate public risk communication and public advocacy strategies should be implemented to strengthen the understanding that reporting on travel history facilitates infection screening and prompt treatment, and to decrease the fear of potentially becoming quarantined after reporting. Additionally, social support and policies should be established, and measures should be taken to alleviate stigmatization and discrimination against potential patients and reporters of travel history. Reinforcing the legal accountability of withholding travel history and strengthening systematic community monitoring are the measures that China is currently taking to encourage reporting on travel history to high-risk epidemic regions. These non-pharmaceutical interventions are relevant for countries that are currently facing the spread of the epidemic and those at risk of its potential spread.

authors

  • Wei, Lifeng
  • Sha, Zhuowa
  • Wang, Ying
  • Zhang, Gangyu
  • Jia, Haonan
  • Zhou, Shuang
  • Li, Yuanheng
  • Wang, Yameng
  • Liu, Chao
  • Jiao, Mingli
  • Sun, Shufan
  • Wu, Qunhong

publication date

  • December 2020