Egyptian families' fears of declining incomes amid coronavirus crisis largely subsided: CAPMAS

Ahram Online , Monday 12 Oct 2020

CAPMAS said 45.3 percent of the families are optimistic about their incomes, as they believe 'the crisis is over'

Men wearing protective face masks walk in downtown Cairo, amidst concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Egypt. (Reuters)

Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) reported on Monday that the overwhelming majority of Egyptian families are aware of COVID-19 symptoms, with 45 percent optimistic about improvements in their income eight months into the pandemic. 

The first part of the study was released in June.

In the second part of an extensive study on the domestic effect of the virus, 98.9 percent of Egyptian families in urban areas were found aware of the symptoms of the virus, compared to 98.4 percent in rural areas.

CAPMAS revealed that 97.1 percent of the families are aware the rise in body temperature is the most important symptom of the coronavirus, followed by sore throat, by 73.5 percent, and diarrhea, by 13.1 percent.

The statistics agency said there was a 2.1 percent increase in awareness of the symptoms among Egyptian families, in comparison to the time the first study was conducted.

The second study covers the period since the outbreak in Egypt until 20 September, divided into three stages: from February to May; from June to July; and from August to 20 September.

It also compares the patterns of consumption with figures from last year.

Economic impact

The agency found that the working life of 54.9 percent of labourers has changed, divided into 58.4 percent in urban areas and 52.2 percent in rural areas, marking a seven percent improvement on the first study.

Half of the families participating in the study reported that they had to borrow from others to make ends meet.

The report, however, indicated dependence on charity declined from 17.3 percent to 13.7 percent in the period between the two studies.

During the first partial curfew and lockdown adopted by the Egyptian government from March till August, many businesses had to work from home while in some sectors, such as tourism and hospitality, some people had to suspend their work until they were able to reopen and re-operate with half of the workforce.

Restaurants and hotels began to re-operate in August with the resumption of international air flights.

The study also showed families' fears of declining incomes have largely subsided, which means that the economic conditions began to improve.

Currently, 31.9 percent of the families expect their incomes will decline in the upcoming three months, down from 48.3 percent.

CAPMAS said that 45.3 percent of the families are optimistic about their incomes, as they believe “the crisis is over” and the pandemic measures have loosened.

The Egyptian manpower ministry has been disbursing an exceptional three-month grants for irregular workers amounting to EGP 500 each in implementation of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's directives in March.

Food consumption

CAPMAS recorded a decline in food consumption from February to 20 September.

Egyptian families consumed 14.5 percent less fruits in the first period and five percent less in the third period.

They also consumed 22.8 percent less poultry in the first stage, and 14.4 percent less in the third period.

On the other hand, there is a noticeable decline in the use of certain food items that witnessed an increase in consumption at the beginning of the pandemic, such as rice.

According to CAPMAS, there was a seven percent increase in the consumption of rice in the first period, which dropped in the second period to 3.3 percent and two percent in the third period.

CAPMAS added that the families in the study tried to cover the food needs in the three periods by depending on cheaper kinds of food and reducing the weekly consumption of meat, poultry, and fish.

In the section on non-food items consumption, families’ consumption of medical supplies, such as gloves and face masks, increased by 25.7 percent (46.5 percent in the first period, 69.3 percent in the second period, and 72.2 percent in the third period).

The sales of sanitisers and detergents increased by 5.5 percent in the three periods.

Officially, Egypt has reported 104,516 coronavirus cases, including 97,688 full recoveries and 6,052 fatalities.  

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