When South Africans expect life to get back to ‘normal’ after Covid-19

Expectations about when life might return to something like a ‘pre-Covid normal’ vary widely across the globe, according to a new World Economic Forum-Ipsos survey.

The survey was based on the online responses of 21,011 adults from 30 countries around the world.

It found that, on average, 59% of people expect something like ‘normal’ will return within the next 12 months.

But there were significant differences in different countries. In Saudi Arabia, Russia, India and mainland China, over 70% of adults expect life will return to a pre-Covid normal within a year.

By comparison, 80% of people in Japan think it will be longer, with more half in France, Italy, South Korea and Spain agreeing.

South Africa also leans towards the more cautious end of the scale, with 49% of South Africans believing it will take longer than a year for things to return to normal. 36% believe life will return to normal in the next four to 12 months, and 15% believe things will be back to normal within three months.

Containment of Covid-19

Opinions on when the pandemic will be contained also closely matched opinions on a return to normal – suggesting that people believe the two to be closely linked.

On average, 58% of those surveyed expect the pandemic to be contained within the next year. Some countries – India, mainland China and Saudi Arabia, for example – are more optimistic.

But, four-in-five in Japan and more than half in countries including Australia and Sweden expect it will take more than a year for the pandemic to be contained.

50% of South Africans believe that it will take longer than a year for Covid-19 to be successfully contained in the country.

The survey also asked people about the pandemic’s impact on their mental health. An average of 45% of adults globally said their mental and physical health has become worse since the beginning of the pandemic.

However, since the beginning of 2021 nearly as many say it has improved as those who say it has worsened.

South Africa is expected to ramp up its Covid-19 vaccinations over the coming months, with phase 2 of the country’s vaccination plan now scheduled to begin on 17 May.

In a media briefing last week, Health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said that the country has now secured a combined 51 million jabs in the agreements that have been signed with various drug makers, aimed at 42 million people.

Mkhize said the government is still working hard to procure more jabs to ensure that those who may be unaccounted for or undocumented, are also immunised to reach herd immunity.

On Monday (12 April), South Africa reported 931 new Covid-19 cases, taking the total reported to 1,558,458.

Deaths have reached 53,322, a daily increase of 66, while recoveries have climbed to 1,483,296, leaving the country with a balance of 21,840 active cases. The total number of vaccines administered is 288,408.

Read: Slow vaccine rollout means third-wave risk is still a reality in South Africa: economists

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When South Africans expect life to get back to ‘normal’ after Covid-19