Survey reveals what SA’s leading COVID-19 hotspot feels about tighter restrictions – a possible proxy for other high-risk areas
What’s in the headlines?
As the festive season approaches, the looming threat of a second wave of COVID-19 has started to become reality with soaring cases and President Ramaphosa’s announcement to increase restrictions in hot spots like Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB).
While other high-infection regions may have escaped increased restrictions for now; NMB could serve as a proxy for how South Africans are feeling about a re-introduction of restrictions and how they plan to act on them.
What does South Africa have to say?
Leading fintech company, CompariSure, surveyed NMB residents from all walks of life on how they feel about the enhanced restrictions. The data revealed that, while people are supportive of governments decision on restrictions, many feel they aren’t getting enough government support. “Almost 80% of respondents said that they agreed that upping restrictions was the right move under the circumstances,” says Matt Kloos, CFO at Comparisure. “Interestingly though, 70% indicated that they felt a lack of support from Government.”
Kloos added that almost 42% of people who earn an income said they will be financially impacted by the increased restrictions. “This financial strain could be a significant factor in terms of the perceptions around a lack of Government support,” said Kloos.
Worryingly – as cases continue to climb – the survey also found that many people will be traveling outside of NMB. “Almost 30% of NMB residents said they will be traveling out of the restricted area over the December/January period,” says Kloos. “This is concerning as, despite being in favour of the added regulations to curb the COVID-19 spread, people are still not willing to forgo their annual trip,” says Kloos.
He hopes that this sentiment is not a pre-cursor for what will happen in other hotspots if restrictions are increased again.
Looking on the brightside…
“Overall NMB support of government efforts to reduce a second wave is encouraging – especially since there was a concern around ‘Corona-fatigue’ in terms of adhering to regulations,” says Kloos.
He adds that 2020 has been a tough year and many people are relying on the year end travel as a way to reconnect with family and recharge mentally. “If strict social-distancing and hygiene measures are followed when people take their annual trips, we may be able to avoid a national second wave while still stimulating our hard hit economy, especially from a local tourism perspective,” he concludes.