A vast majority of people in Asia want a total ban on flights from mainland China, according to an online poll conducted by Singapore-based market research company Blackbox Research and French-based tech company Toluna on coronavirus, named Covid-19, that originated in China.

The results show that anxiety levels are very high regardless of the number of Covid-19 cases in the country and a vast majority (about 84% on average) of those polled want a total ban on flights from mainland China.

David Black, the CEO of Blackbox Research, said, “The desire for a travel ban from China is very consistent across the nine countries surveyed. More than eight in 10 of those surveyed believe there should be a total ban on all flights … until the virus is under control on the mainland.”

A total of 4,111 people was asked from Feb. 14-17 about the outbreak and their government's responses. Japan and Hong Kong were the most pessimistic with 85% and 72% believing that the number of cases would soon rise. 73% of Hongkongers were critical of their government's handling of the crisis.

One question on the poll was if the respondents worried a lot about the coronavirus. That question resulted in some surprising findings:

  • Vietnam, with only 16 confirmed cases, scored higher at their government's performance but 69% said yes when asked if they worry a lot.
  • Indonesians gave their government credit with no cases being reported but 56% of respondents said they still worried a lot.
  • South Korea, with 30 confirmed cases at the time of the mid-February poll, expressed relatively light concern with only 32% answering to the worry question. The country now has over 50 confirmed cases.
  • Vietnam (69%), Malaysia (66%) and the Philippines (61%) worried the most about the new coronavirus.
  • Singapore at 46% joined Thailand (46%) and Hong Kong (55%) with in-between scores.

Black explained that Japan’s responses were likely affected by the quarantined cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, that stirred up some fears. Hong Kong, he explained, would be influenced by the current distrust of the government and the recent unrest in the city.

The question on the poll that was most agreed upon was if a total ban on flights from China should be imposed. Over 80% polled in each country responded in the affirmative with Indonesia topping the list at 89% and Hong Kong with the lowest at 82%.

Only nine Asian countries participated in the poll.