Egyptians have spent 93 percent more on facemasks and gloves by the end of December as fears over the coronavirus pandemic and the risk of fines over not following precautionary measures grew, the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) said on Sunday.
According to a study covering the effect of the pandemic on the lives of Egyptians, CAPMAS said the consumption of facemasks and gloves by families rose to 93 percent from October to the end of December from a previous 72.2 percent in the past study, which covered August to September.
Egypt has made wearing facemasks in public places mandatory since 30 May, with violators facing hefty fines of up to EGP 4,000.
However, most people in the country failed to adhere to the mask regulations, especially with the decline in reported infections amid a gradual reopening of the country in June.
A leap in reported infections before the end of the year pushed the government to impose an immediate EGP 50 fine instead effective January, collecting millions of pounds from the public as fines.
Over 70 percent of Egyptian families said they were relying on washing their hands with soap as a main prevention method from the virus, CAPMAS said, adding that 49.3 percent of families believe that the current economic condition cannot bear the state taking further anti-virus restrictions.
Some 13.5 percent of families have suspected the infection of one of its members by the virus, with 65 percent of families saying that they saw the rise in body temperature as a main symptom of the virus, with 48 percent being confirmed cases.
On the consumption of some commodities, the study showed an improved consumption of meat, fish, and fruits in comparison with the past study.
Spending on transportation also plunged by 6.1 percent from 18.8 percent in the previous study, according to the study.
The study says the impact of the pandemic on employed individuals saw an improvement, estimating the percentage of those who saw their work situation impacted by the pandemic falling to 26.9 percent compared to 54.9 percent previously.
The reasons behind the decline in personal income amid the pandemic were mainly due to slashes in salaries, followed by a full closure of business activity and the implementation of preventive measures by the government.