As Covid-19 infections rise above the 800,000 mark, and deaths edge over 40,000, more and more countries are taking extreme measures to curb the virus. Lockdowns have become the norm, with many nations demanding that citizens stay indoors. So, let’s take a look at Covid-19 lockdowns around the world and their effects.
South Africa COVID-19 Lockdown
First in a look at Covid-19 lockdowns around the world is South Africa.
South Africa began a total lockdown on Friday, 26 March at a minute after midnight last week. Only essential workers, such as healthcare workers, and grocery shop staff, are permitted to come and go from their homes. Other citizens may leave to shop, but only one person per household is permitted to enter a store at a time, and to seek medical care. Dog walking and jogging has been banned, as has any form of in-person socialization with people outside of your household. All non-essential businesses have been closed, and the sale of tobacco and alcohol has been banned. People and businesses can face fines and jail time if they’re found to be violating the new laws.
The army and police have been rolled out to enforce the new laws, as President Cyril Ramaphosa declares a National State of Disaster. Already, police have been firing rubber bullets at shoppers not following the rules.
The UK COVID-19 Lockdown
PM Boris Johnson announced new, more stringent measures to curb the spread of the virus via a TV address last week. People will be allowed to leave home for the following reasons:
- Shopping, for essentials, and as little as possible.
- One form of state-sanctioned exercise a day – running, cycling – either alone or with other members of the same household.
- For medical care
- Travelling to and from work, but only if you cannot work remotely from home.
Meeting up with friends, shopping for non-essentials, and gathering in crowds has been banned.
Ireland COVID-19 Lockdown
Earlier this month, the Irish government closed all schools, universities, and pubs nationwide. Now, they’ve implemented a lockdown until 12 April. Non-essential businesses have been shut, rent and evictions have been frozen, and PM Leo Varadkar pleaded with the population on Friday, saying, “Everybody must stay at home, in all circumstances.”
Russia COVID-19 Lockdown
In our look at Covid-19 lockdowns around the world, Russia has implemented a “non-working week”, which will last until 5 April. Workers will still be paid during the period, with the Kremlin urging people to stay at home. Still, many people rushed off to their summer homes following the announcement.
The USA COVID-19 Lockdown
The United States hasn’t technically implemented a nationwide lockdown, but President Trump extended federal guidelines on social distancing for another 30 days, in an announcement made yesterday.
“The modeling estimates that the peak in death rate is likely to hit in two weeks. So I’ll say it again, the peak, the highest point of death rates, remember, this is likely to hit in two weeks. Therefore, the next two weeks and during this period it’s very important that every one strongly follow the guidelines,” Trump told reporters.
“The better you do, the faster this whole nightmare will end. Therefore, we will be extending our guidelines to April 30th to slow the spread.”
The federal guidelines, which recommend that people stay at home and avoid gatherings, would have expired on 30 March.
More countries will implement lockdowns in the near future
Now that we’ve taken a look at Covid-19 lockdowns around the world, it’s clear that more and more countries will need to implement extreme measures to curb the virus. South Africa, with its immune-compromised population, has had to take stringent measures – which one BBC journo saw fit to compare to Apartheid laws (yes, seriously – although the reference has since been removed from the article). As the virus spreads rapidly, more governments will impose restrictions on their populations, and it could come at the risk of losing basic freedoms.
Don’t forget to check out our article about How To Survive Quarantine during the Covid-19 pandemic