The overall distress of Covid-19 fear in the country is now at its lowest level since the start of lockdown, the results of a local study suggest.

“Distress levels dropped to an all-time low in April 2021, driven by a greater number of citizens reporting that they feel they are now managing emotionally. Financial distress and food insecurity remain a key focus,” states the study by Ask Afrika, an independent market research company.

Covid-19 Tracker – A year in review was the result of the company aiming to understand the socio-economic impact that the coronavirus lockdown and gradual re-opening of the economy has had on South Africans.

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South Africa recorded its first positive case of Covid-19 on 5 March 2020, a 38-year-old male who had traveled to Italy with his wife. They were a part of a group of 10 people that arrived back in the country on 1 March 2020.

South Africa subsequently went into a hard lockdown where citizens could only leave their homes for essential goods, services, or work.

To date, the country is now on level 1 of the lockdown with a midnight curfew.

The research was collected over a year between April 2020 and April 2021, with almost 14 000 interviews conducted.

The study found the fear of contracting the virus is similar between April 2020 and April 2021.

“The highest level of fear was in September/October 2020 (lockdown level 1). The fear of fellow citizens’ non-compliance in April 2021 is three times higher than in April 2020 and indeed at its highest level ever now,” the research revealed.

Also, results suggested that the highest fear at the start of lockdown in April 2020 was for loss of income. It is now less than half of what it was then.

The fear of food shortages is now the lowest of all fears and, “… stands at nearly a third of what it was a year ago”.



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