India, April 13: Indians are among the most optimistic globally in terms of their expectations for a return to pre-COVID normal, with over 70 per cent expecting it to happen in less than a year, a new study said on Monday.

Importantly, the survey was conducted just before the COVID-19 pandemic was seen moving towards a new peak in India and some other countries.

The survey, conducted by global market research major Ipsos for the World Economic Forum (WEF) with a sample size of over 21,000 globally between February 19 and March 5, showed that Indians were the most optimistic (24 per cent) on expectations for the ‘return to normal‘ happening within 1-3 months and also for it to happen in 3-6 months (21 per cent).

Besides, a further 23 per cent of optimistic Indians said they expect a return to pre-COVID normal in 6-12 months, but people from several countries, including Saudi Arabia, China, and Brazil scored better on this timeframe.

An estimated 15 per cent of Indian respondents said they expect the return to normal to take more than 12 months, 6 per cent said it would never happen, and for 11 per cent it was already the case.

Globally, a majority of people at about 60 per cent are hopeful that the pandemic will be contained within the next year, but expectations vary widely by country, the WEF said, citing the survey results.


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Respondents in China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia said they believe it will take a year to return to normal, while Japan, France, Italy, and South Korea believe it will take longer.

One out of two adults globally said their emotional and mental health has gotten worse since the beginning of the pandemic, but nearly one in four said it improved since the start of 2021.

Over 70 per cent of adults in Saudi Arabia, Russia, India, and mainland China are confident their life will return to pre-COVID normal within a year.

In contrast, 80 per cent in Japan and more than half in France, Italy, South Korea and Spain expect it will take longer.

At a global level, expectations about how long it will take before one’s life can return to its pre-COVID normal and how long it will take for the pandemic to be contained are nearly identical.

These findings suggest that people across the world consider that being able to return to “normal” life is entirely dependent on containing the pandemic.

Similar to life returning to pre-COVID normal, 58 per cent on the average across all countries and markets surveyed expect the pandemic to be contained within the next year, including 13 per cent who think this is already the case or will happen within 3 months.

As per the survey, majorities in India, China, and Saudi Arabia thought the pandemic is already contained or will be within the next six months.


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In contrast, four in five in Japan and more than half in Australia, France, Poland, Spain, and Sweden expected it will take more than a year.

On average across the 30 countries and markets surveyed, 45 per cent of adults say their emotional and mental health has gotten worse since the beginning of the pandemic about a year ago, three times the proportion of adults who say it has improved (16 per cent). The survey was conducted among more than 21,000 adults under the age of 75 on Ipsos’ Global Advisor online platform.