Indians fear levels are increasing as India re-opens

Indians fear levels are increasing as India re-opens
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From fear of the coronavirus disease to losing their jobs, YouGov’s global COVID-19 tracker shows that Indians are getting increasingly anxious about both health and the economy

As India starts the process of re-starting the economy with ‘Unlock 1’, data from YouGov’s ongoing Covid-19 tracker shows an increasing number of urban Indians are worried about losing their jobs due to the Coronavirus outbreak. According to the tracker, 45% Indians said they were very or fairly worried about job loss when we first surveyed them in early May. This coincides with the time of ‘Lockdown 3.0’ in India. As the lockdown moved into its fourth edition, the fear levels intensified, and towards the end of ‘Lockdown 4.0’ and beginning of ‘Unlock 1’, 54% respondents said they are very or fairly worried about losing their jobs. This is a total of 9% points increase over a period of four weeks. The figure is much higher among people in their thirties, with 62% of them feeling insecure about their jobs.

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For the same period, worry about their children’s education has also witnessed an upward swing. The shift to remote learning through online classes and the uncertainty around reopening of schools could be a reason for parents getting anxious about the future of their child’s education.

As people stayed at home and practised social distancing in lockdown 3.0 (early May), less than half were worried about falling sick or dying because of the virus. However, as the lockdown was extended, followed by the reopening of public places and offices, worry among residents seems to have increased and 52% now said they are very or fairly worried in this regard. Similarly, concern about loved ones feeling unwell or dying due to the virus has also seen an escalation from 56% to 61% now. Worry is considerably higher among tier-1 city residents as compared to people in tier-3 cities (66% vs 57%).

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Comparatively, concern over other possible impacts of the disease, such as effect on their finances and a long-lasting harm to the society have seen a marginal difference over the weeks.

At an overall level, Indians’ confidence in the government handling the Covid crisis has plummeted over the past few weeks. 83% respondents said the government is handling the crisis very or fairly well when we first surveyed them in early May. Now, this number has reduced to 77% at the end of lockdown 4.0, a fall of 6% points. Among the different regions, confidence is the lowest among people in West India compared to the rest - at 70% (very or fairly well handling of the crisis).

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Faith in national Covid recovery also seems to have dwindled over the weeks. The data shows the number of people who said the situation in their country is getting worse has increased from 53% in the first wave of the survey (early May) to 64% in the fourth wave (early June). This marks an increase of 11% points.

YouGov will continue tracking public perception around the virus outbreak in the weeks to come.

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