Global Festival Mobility and Countries in COVID-19 Woods in an Era of Travel Analytics

Global Festival Mobility and Countries in COVID-19 Woods in an Era of Travel Analytics

In 2019 and 2020, and early this year, both Christians and Muslims across the world celebrated their festivals and performing religious rites under the strict measures and controls put in place by the relevant stakeholders for total containment of the COVID-19 spread and impacts. Aside the religion-driven activities, people also participated in ceremonies where the measures were either observed merely or strictly.

Some days before this year’s celebration of Eid-l-Adha by Muslims reports indicate that a number of countries were having a third wave of the virus with the emergence of variants such as Alpha, Beta, Delta among others. “In those countries with low COVID-19 vaccination coverage, terrible scenes of hospitals overflowing are again becoming the norm. But no country is out of the woods yet”, said Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus, during his biweekly press conference. The global health management body also noted that the Delta variant of SARS-COV-2 has been detected in over 100 countries.

Exhibit 1: Where the Delta variant has spread to

Source: World Health Organisation, 2021

In spite of the warning from the body and relevant government agencies, our analysis indicates that people in Ireland, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Australia, United States, Greece, Bangladesh, Philippines, Malaysia, South Africa, Pakistan, Netherlands, India, Belgium, Nigeria, Spain, France, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Thailand, South Korea and Japan showed significant interest in traveling between July 12 and July 18, 2021 than understanding the variant in relation with the virus. It is also surprising that people’s interest in face mask and social distancing was not encouraging during the period.

Exhibit 2: Countries and level of interest in select indicators [July 12-July 18, 2021]

Source: Google Trends, 2021; Infoprations Analysis, 2021

Our analyst notes that it is imperative that people in these countries observe the measures because the global health body and infectious disease experts have stressed that the variants are deadlier than the type that occurred during first and second wave of the virus.  From the insights, we expect significant behavioural change campaign from disease control agencies or departments in the countries because it is clearly shown that public are losing interest in observing the critical protocols for total containment of the virus spread. It has also emerged that concerned stakeholders need to consider travel analytics in their efforts of tracking people’s behaviour during movements.

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