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Date of this Version

2020

Abstract

Background: As of October 1, 2020, World Health Organization (WHO) reports that COVID-19 has spread in 216 countries or territories or areas which results into throwing billions of lives under lockdown as healthcare services struggle to cope. Therefore, timely access to healthcare information during COVID-19 crisis is mandatory to restrain its spread.

Objectives: To comprehend the information needs and seeking behaviour of general public during COVID-19 outbreak in India.

Methods: A national survey through an online questionnaire was conducted in India and 1310 respondents participated in the study through snowball sampling technique.

Results: The most decisive information needs of majority of respondents were COVID-19 signs and symptoms, causes and treatments of illness, prevention and control of COVID-19. Conspicuously, news websites, dedicated websites of coronavirus and medical staff were the most preferred and trustworthy sources of information related to COVID-19. Furthermore, credibility or authenticity of information was identified as the major problem in seeking COVID-19 information.

Conclusion: The study's findings provide insight into the spectrum of health information seeking among general public in India during COVID-19 outbreak. This study may be useful to social welfare and government health departments, hospitals, and health-information communicators engaged in public safety and well-being in India.

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