Survey: Coronavirus reduces income of over 50% of Iranians

Financial Tribune – The outbreak of coronavirus has lowered the income of more than half of the Iranians, the latest opinion poll conducted by the Iranian Students Polling Agency nationwide between April 12 and 15 reveals.

Businesses of 41.7% of 1,563 respondents have been closed down and 13.5% lost their jobs altogether while 26.3% said their economic situation has remained intact and 0.6% saw their livelihoods improve. About 1.6% of respondents provided other answers.

“About 600,000 have filed for unemployment because of the coronavirus pandemic over the past 20 days,” Hojjat Mirzaie, an official with the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare said recently.

These people were mostly employed in the services sector, he added.

Ali Rabiei, the government spokesman, said the economy could lose up to four million jobs.

“More than 12 million workers are employed in the services sector. The early impacts of unemployment can be seen in 10 business groups that were closed as soon as the virus was confirmed. Close to 3.3 million of the employed population in the official economy are directly affected by the crisis,” he was quoted as saying by the Persian-language daily Etemad.

About 56% of the survey’s respondents were in favor of stay-at-home order while 39.6% supported reopening economic activities despite the pandemic; 4.4% did not respond to this question.

The so-called “low-risk” businesses affiliated to Tehran Guild Chamber opened their doors on April 18 to resume activities as per the Smart Distancing Initiative to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak while minimizing its economic fallout.

Indoor shopping malls reopened in the capital on Monday.

According to an announcement by the Health Ministry, “high-risk” workplaces such as cultural and sport centers, beauty salons and hotels are to remain closed until further notice.

As per the Smart Distancing Initiative, low-risk businesses were allowed to resume activities on April 11 in all provinces, except Tehran that also followed suit on April 18.

Government offices are open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The scheme allows one-third of employees in each workplace to undertake teleworking.

The survey also shows coronavirus lockdowns have caused tensions in 15.8% of families across the country; 84% reported no such tensions while 0.2% did not answer this question.

About 36.8% were worried about getting infected by the virus to a great extent, 17.1% to some extent, 21.9% had little concern about the disease while 24% were not worried at all.

Women between 18 and 29 years and people with Master’s and PhD degrees had more concerns about the spread of infectious disease. Concerns were less dominant among men, those above 50 years of age and adults without a university degree or high school diploma.

Asked whether they’ve made any donation during the past two months, 34.7% were affirmative, 9.5% said they intended to donate to those affected by the pandemic in the future while 5.8% said they haven’t offered any help to others and did not intend to do so.

About 48.6% said they could not afford to donate and 1.3% did not comment.

People spent an average of 163 minutes per day outdoors during the coronavirus outbreak;, marking an average of 264 minutes for men and 72 minutes for women.