Pakistanis want businesses to be reopened despite COVID-19, IPSOS survey

IPSOS conducted a survey which shows that 4 in 5 Pakistanis think that economic activity and businesses should reopen even if the virus is not fully contained which is highest among all 15 surveyed countries. Does the Supreme Court communicate people’s sentiments during today’s hearing?

IPSOS survey

IPSOS, a global market research firm, conducted the survey in Pakistan to measure the awareness and implications of COVID-19. Here are some key findings pertaining to economic, social, religious and domestic implications of this outbreak. From the latest wave of Ipsos Tracker & snap poll, which IPSOS Pakistan conducted in 3rd week of April, from 1000+ adult Pakistanis representing all urban and rural areas of Pakistan.

According to the survey results, 4 in 5 Pakistanis think that economic activity and businesses should reopen even if the virus is not fully contained which is highest among all 15 surveyed countries. Similarly, 4 in 5 expect things to return back to normal by June and are quite optimistic that the economy will recover quickly once the lockdown is over. However, interestingly, like other countries, the majority of Pakistanis feel nervous about leaving homes when businesses re-open and travel resumes.

Despite high awareness, only one-half of Pakistanis feel concerned about the outbreak and there’s a decline in people’s perception of a ‘complete lockdown’ across all provinces. Additionally, a new study by Aga Khan University also found an inadequate level of knowledge about symptoms of the disease. While the majority of respondents correctly recognized fever, coughing, and shortness of breath as signs of coronavirus, less than 1 in 3 respondents were aware of joint or muscle pain as being a symptom. Similarly, fewer than 1 in 4 of those surveyed knew that a person could be carrying the coronavirus without showing any signs or symptoms.

Read More: Pakistan: Absence of medical research, a setback against COVID-19

As the economy is in the constant decline in the time of COVID-19, majority Pakistanis do not intend to buy new stuff on Eid ul Fitr, mainly belong to lower SECs and rural areas.  4 in 5 think COVID-19 will negatively affect their jobs or businesses. But the majority of Pakistanis seem unlikely to learn any new skill during the lockdown period.

Notably, according to data released by the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA), passenger car sales dropped by 71.8% to only 5,796 units in March 2020 from 19,897 units sold during the same period last year. The decline in March is the largest ever decline in any month’s sales.

Moreover, according to IPSOS survey, 50% Pakistanis offer Traweeh at homes, and 30% going to mosques. Albeit limited knowledge of precise SOPs for mosques, 80% Pakistani believe that SOPs in mosques are being followed.

The study carried out by Aga Khan University surveyed 738 men and women across rural and urban Pakistan also found a widespread belief in the myth that the coronavirus could be treated with existing medications.

Even though there is no cure for the virus and only its symptoms can be treated, up to 60 percent of urban Pakistanis incorrectly believed that pneumonia vaccines could protect them from the disease while 83 percent or rural respondents asserted a myth that existing medicines can effectively treat the disease.

Agha Khan university team found that less than 1 in 10 rural residents correctly identified being in crowded areas as a factor that left them more vulnerable to catching the coronavirus. The majority of residents in the rural sample, or 74%, also incorrectly believed mosquito bites to be a cause of COVID-19.

The study was funded by grants from AKU’s Medical College and the University’s Research Council. Dr Shafaq Mahmood, Dr Ibtisam Qazi, Dr Muneebullah Siddiqui, Dr Anny Dhanwani, Dr Babar Shahid, Dr Hasan Nawaz, Mr Waqas Hameed, and Dr Sameen Siddiqi from the University’s Community Health Sciences Department also contributed to the study. The study attempted to identify people’s knowledge about COVID-19 and its implications on their health.

Read More: Covid-19 outbreak & the future of pandemics

Professor Zafar Fatmi of AKU’s Community Health Sciences Department said that “Accurate information represents the first step in effectively protecting oneself and one’s loved ones from the disease. This is especially critical for those living with at-risk groups as it will enable them to take the necessary precautions.”

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