IRSOP poll: The economic situation of households – in distress, while the healthcare might be stormed by patients who delayed their treatments due to COVID-19

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The latest IRSOP poll conducted during May 6-9 says that the income available per household has “vanished” in Romania during this period, while savings have been also on decline, which means that households are facing melting cash and those strapped will refrain from buying goods and service in the near future. The survey also shows that people are in no rush to increase the individual consumption in the upcoming three months.

Incomes in May

More than half of the households in Romania (58%) could maintain or even slightly increase their standard of living in May as against April. Yet, 42% of respondents say that their financial situation has got worse. The poll’s authors argue that this means a start of a systemic impairment.

The effective unemployment has increased in May compared to April, and it is expected to rise from 5% to 10%. The inability to pay the mortgage is also on the rise form 5% to 10%. The share of households without an available income is up from 38% to 48%, while the share of the people who started using their savings in May is mounting to 32%.

Healthcare

A third of the adult Romanian population (31%) had to postpone their medical tests, treatments or surgeries due to the Coronavirus epidemic. That means that the healthcare system will remain tensed also after the epidemic fades away.

39% of the respondents think that the healthcare system is the most important chronic weakness of the country, which has been brought to light by the COVID-19 epidemic.

34% believe it is the corruption that has been highlighted by the pandemic.

The authors of the survey consider that the healthcare system will need investments including in the surplus capacities destined to epidemics, which, although they are not cost-effective, they will be inevitable.

Future consumption

The poll underlines that people will be in no rush to increase their individual consumption in the upcoming three months. Most respondents (84%) intend to buy only basic necessities, while 83% don’t want falling into debt, which might mean that retailers that sell durable goods will face problems.

Refraining from shopping also suggests that a potential programme to re-start short term consumption might not work.

74% say that they have no saving intentions in the coming 3 months, most probably due to the incertitude on the expected income. It means that, if they are getting free financial incentives, they would rather save money for buffer stocks instead of spending it for consumption.

Responsible behaviour after the lockdown

When asked: “Will you respect the authorities’ recommendations?”, almost all respondents answered: “Yes”.

When questioned how will the others react after getting out of the lockdown, respondents say “less than a half”, or “very few”. People think their fellow countrymen will care less about recommendations, social distancing or protecting those around them.

Generally speaking, the study’s authors say that what people think the others will do is not very far from what they will actually do themselves, which means that, practically, the compliance rate will not be so high, except for the personal hygiene measures.

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