Thais Score Highest in Survey for Mask-Wearing

BANGKOK — A survey found that Thais are most likely to wear facemasks in public and use hand sanitizer among six ASEAN members. 

According to a YouGov survey, 95 percent of Thais constantly wear face masks in public, followed closely by Vietnam (94 percent), Philippines (93 percent), Malaysia (89 percent), and Indonesia (87 percent) – leaving behind Singapore (66 percent). 

While masks were subject to panic buying to the point of shortage when the outbreak first began in Thailand, the availability has increased significantly in recent months. Face masks even spawn their own fashion. 

Read: Virus Shutdowns Ease in Bangkok, But Face Masks Stay On

“Some people have many masks, some of them patterned. Let those be a few colorful spots brightening up our days,” Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration, said Tuesday during the daily briefing announcing new infection rates. 

The poll by YouGov, a UK-based market research company, was conducted between March 30 and April 27 on 12,999 respondents for compensation from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand (2,024 respondents), the Philippines, and Vietnam by YouGov and Imperial College London. 

The online interviews were selected by age, gender, income group and education level in order to be representative. The respondents participated in return for compensation.The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent.

Elle Thailand notes that several Thai fashion brands are now producing their own branded masks that cost around 300 to 600, but cheaper ones can be found from smaller brands.

Jarauyporn Khamwan, 28, is the owner of I’m Not A Morning Person clothing brand, one of the brands that made and sold fashion masks on Instagram. 

Since the beginning of the outbreak, Jarauyporn thought about what she could do as a clothing seller amid the shortage of masks, and began making masks for 290 baht each from the satin she used to make dresses.

A promotional image for a fashion face mask. Photo: Imnotamorningperson__official / Instagram

“I don’t know if everyone is interested in fashion masks, but if in the future masks become something absolutely necessary, so much so that you can’t go anywhere without one, then I think people will choose products that make them happy,” Jarauyporn said. 

“I also believe every woman wants to own beautiful things…We may even see outfits and masks coordinating,” she said. 

People in Asia are thought to be more likely to wear face masks than in Western countries during the pandemic. 

Across all six Asian nations surveyed, 86 percent said they always or frequently wore face masks when exiting the house – compared to a 15 percent response in the UK, 44 percent in France, and 48 percent in the US.