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Hong Kong public eager to know more about ‘Long COVID’: Manulife survey

'Long COVID' is experienced by people who have symptoms that drag for a month.

The latest Manulife Asia Care Survey has revealed that the majority of people in Hong Kong are eager to know more about ‘Long COVID’ and how insurance can help them.

Amongst the 1,000 respondents from Hong Kong, 59% think COVID-19 will last another 12 months at least, with one fifth saying it will never end. Yet, amidst the widespread concerns about COVID-19 and its impact on the public, the research also showed a remarkable lack of awareness about “Long COVID”, with just 15% familiar with the condition compared to 35% regionally. “Long COVID” is an issue that has increased in relevance now with the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant of the virus.

According to the World Health Organization, around a quarter of people who have had the virus experience symptoms that continue for at least a month, but one in ten still feel unwell after 12 weeks. These are the symptoms of which have been called ‘Long COVID’ and can seriously impact people’s ability to return to work or have a social life.

Whilst the symptoms of “Long COVID” share some similarities with seasonal influenza, its potential long-term impact is not fully appreciated or understood by the majority of people in Hong Kong, with two thirds even confessing that they had not heard of it before the survey.

However, after learning about “Long COVID” during the survey, 86% of respondents said it is now something they worry about, with 90% of respondents keen to learn more about it. For most (56%), the top priority is how to avoid the effects of "Long COVID”. More than two in five (46%) want to know more about vaccine efficacy in preventing “Long COVID”. Another big question for 44% of the respondents is the kind of health and care support available to deal with the condition. Over a third (35%) want to know how insurance can help them.

“With the arrival of the Omicron variant locally, it is even more critical for people to understand the long-lasting impact of ‘Long COVID’, as the lack of awareness about the condition could potentially stop consumers from taking active preventive measures,” said Damien Green, Chief Executive Officer of Manulife Hong Kong and Macau.

In Hong Kong, COVID-19 continues to fuel demand for insurance as people look to stay in control of their own health and financial well-being, with just over a third (35%) expressing concern that the local economy will take a long time to recover. 47% of the respondents said that insurance has grown in importance to them since the outbreak of the pandemic.

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