Coronavirus: 26 percent Indian businesses witness demand slowdown, says report

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  17 Feb 2020 4:08 AM GMT
Coronavirus: 26 percent Indian businesses witness demand slowdown, says report

Hyderabad: A fresh survey conducted by LocalCircles to ascertain how the novel Coronavirus has affected people’s travel plans in India this summer, has revealed that nine percent of vacationers have decided against cancelling bookings and travel regardless of how the situation unfolds. However 10% people said they have made bookings but might cancel them based on how the situation develops. 31% had not made any bookings yet and are adopting wait and watch policy.

Over 40,000 responses were received from participants based in Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities of India. 39% respondents were women while 61% were men.

The survey was conducted at a time when death toll in China due to novel Coronavirus epidemic has surpassed 1,600 and the number of infected people has crossed 60,000.

The survey focuses on Indian travellers, their level of concern regarding the virus, views on Indian government’s handling of the situation and how the Indian businesses think this virus will affect them.

Here are the list of questions asked and the answers elicited from the respondents during the survey:

How are you looking at the Coronavirus issue?

Seventy two percent said they are staying alert and taking precautions, around 16% said they don’t believe the virus can impact them or Indians at large. Three percent respondents said they believe it cannot impact them.

How is Coronavirus affecting your or family’s summer travel plan?

Nine percent respondents said they have made bookings and will travel regardless of how the situation unfolds.

Ten percent said they have made bookings but might cancel them based on how the situation develops. 31% had not made any bookings yet and said will only book it based on how the entire situation develops. Another 39% said they did not have any summer travel plans independent of Coronavirus.

The respondents were reacting after authorities said the first death due to Coronavirus outside Asia has been reported from France. There have been reports of Coronavirus cases being detected around the world including USA, Europe, South-East Asia and the Middle-East. People who have been in China or even Singapore in the past 15-20 days are at a high risk of carrying the virus.

What precautionary measures can realistically be taken to prevent the spreading of Coronavirus?

Many countries have issued travel advisories and restrictions on travel to and from China. Due to this thousands of people have postponed or cancelled their travel plans for the upcoming months.

Many citizens surveyed by LocalCircles opined that thousands of travelers originating from different parts of China and Singapore have entered different cities of India in the last 20 days with limited screening.

Citizens were asked what precautionary measures can realistically be taken to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. 70% opined Government should follow up and track the health of all those who have arrived from China and Singapore in the last 30 days.

At the same time 9% respondents said government should issue restrictions or guidelines for public places. Another 10% respondents said all public and private hospitals and their officials should be sensitized so that individuals with symptoms are quarantined. Two percent people said such steps are not needed as Coronavirus does not pose a major threat to India.

Whether the Government must follow up with China to ensure travelers haven’t developed Coronavirus symptoms?

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently issued a travel advisory urging people to refrain from visiting China. The e-Visa facility for Chinese passport holders has also been temporarily suspended.

The government has recently confirmed that passengers from over 2000 flights have been screened and over 15,000 people have been kept under surveillance as a matter of abundant precaution. Those showing early symptoms were being kept in isolation at hospitals.

For effective tracking of those who have landed from China, Hong Kong, Singapore in the last 30 days and were cleared in airport screenings.

Citizens were asked whether the government must follow up with them to ensure travelers from those countries haven’t developed Coronavirus symptoms.

While 15% respondents said it should be done and they have evidence that it is being done properly. 53% said it should be done but is not happening. 7% said it is currently not being done but should be done and the government will not be able to do it. Four percent said it is not happening and is not needed while 21% were unsure about it.

Many respondents outlined how screening at airport was inadequate. One counter with two individuals entrusted the job of checking temperature of over 300 passengers is just not enough. A few of them reported how people were getting away.

What should be India’s approach on supply of face masks, drugs, toilet paper, facial tissues etc. to world markets?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently wrote to the Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping and offered a helping hand in handling of Coronavirus. India will be sending large quantities of surgical gloves, disposable masks, surgical suits, protective facial screens etc. to China this week to help the health workers in containing the spread of this deadly disease.

Therefore the next question was: What should be India’s approach on supply of face masks, drugs, toilet paper, facial tissues etc. to world markets.

40% respondents said India should ramp up production and increase exports. 43% said India should ramp up production but maintain a buffer stock to meet domestic demand.

13% said India should maintain production but ban exports to focus on domestic demand. Just a week back, India revoked its export ban on masks and is now shipping them to China.

How do they see Coronavirus impacting their business in the next 3 months?

Indian businesses import raw material in large quantities from China. Top Indian imports from China include electronic equipment, machinery, organic chemicals, fertilizers, vehicle components, telecom equipment, mobile phones etc.

Coronavirus has also restricted the movement of goods to and from China, which might impact the manufacturing units in India that are heavily dependent on these Chinese imports.

For instance, the Pharma industry has 8-10 weeks of inventories but believes that if China supply shutdown stretches to April, there will be a shortage of generic drugs in the Indian market.

The response indicated that 19% Indian businesses are experiencing supply disruption while 26% are experiencing demand slowdown in their business. 45% said they do not see any impact of Coronavirus on their business. 3% said they foresee a supply disruption or increase in supply costs while 10% said they foresee lower demand for their products/services. 16% said they foresee both of these happening. 26% were unsure about it.

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