Coronavirus: weekly survey aims to map outbreak’s spread through Belgium
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    Coronavirus: weekly survey aims to map outbreak’s spread through Belgium

    A weekly survey launched by the University of Antwerp aims to support research on the spread of the virus by polling citizens' response to the lockdown measures imposed to curb the pandemic. © Belga

    The University of Antwerp is surveying people’s response to the measures imposed to halt the coronavirus pandemic in a bid to help researchers better understand how the virus will spread.

    Posted for the first time on 17 March, the university’s survey will be uploaded each Tuesday and stay open for respondents until 10:00 PM.

    The poll aims to gather “indicative information from the population as quickly as possible,” since the lockdown measures are only expected to yield results within “ten to fourteen days” since their introduction last week.

    Large-scale responses from residents in Belgium would give experts “the opportunity to better estimate the evolution curve” of the new coronavirus (Covid-19) in Belgium, the university wrote online.

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    The survey polls respondents on issues ranging from their living situation, their occupation and the ages and profiles of people living in the same household.

    Respondents are also questioned on their daily habits, such as whether they work from home or whether they continue to shake hands or meet other people in person.

    Respondents remain anonymous, with the only personal data gathered from respondents being their age, gender and place of residence.

    “We mainly aim to document what is happening,” the survey’s introduction reads. “There is an urgent need to know how the population is coping with the crisis (…) in order to be able to predict the further evolution of the epidemic, to help hospitals assess what is coming and to monitor the well-being of the population.”

    The university said they received over 500,000 responses during the first round of the survey, which is available in Dutch, French and English.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times