Published 2020-03-31 16:30:07
Only 3 months done in 2020 and we already know that year 2020 will
enter in History books as one of the major event in the 21st century!
The pandemic that has spread around the world rapidly started in
December 2019 in the Wuhan area, at the heart of China (although some
say it might have been even as early as September - and many think that
the Chinese government is still hiding the real amount of deaths, that
might go up to 40,000).
As of today, end of March, up to 3 billions people are in lockdown and
the planet is
more or less at a stand still with more than 170 countries affected...
But while it is now agreed that the rapid reaction to the situation is
critical in the fight against the
pandemic, many countries are still adapting.
On the graph below (data from European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control),
we have compared the reaction of some countries while the virus was
hiting the world: it appears clearly that some have been slower than
others to declare a lockdown of the population (so far the only way to
stop the expansion of the pandemic and limit the number of death); or, at least, they refused to extrapolate from the situation in China or
Italy, and waited until a certain marker to decide appropriate
The UK is a good example as on March 3rd, the Prime Minister was still boasting about shaking hands with COVID19 patients in hospital
(he's been diagnosed with the desease more recently) and they waited
until the death toll reached 100 to decide the school closure, despite
all the news of the virus hitting other countries!
It is possible to see many figures and analysis on the website Worldometer/Coronavirus, with daily update, global count and breakdown by country.
While many countries have repatriated their own citizens, many of them
are still abroad, either because they are confined by local curfews in
provincial towns across the globe and unable to fly back home because
airports have been closed, or just because they are long term
Measures taken in different countries
Below we list a series of countries with the latest situation. Of course
this is meant to evolve constantly and you can comment in the section
below in order to provide more accurate information.
We have recorded some information
in term of lockdown, curfew, restrictions, including the possibility to
enter the country. The EU sealed its external borders on 18 March to
anyone from outside the bloc for at least 30 days. Canada and the US
have also imposed restrictions.
- Argentina: lockdown
- Austria: lockdown
- Australia: curfew. The country has banned entry to all
foreigners, telling all citizens and residents who return to the country
they must go into quarantine for two weeks.
- Brazil: curfew
- China: lockdown partially lifted in the area of Wuhan where
coronavirus is said to have originated. China imposed
what is probably the most extreme lockdown so far from 23 January, with
all journeys in and out of the city banned - even for those medical or
humanitarian reasons. Two months later, on 24 March 2020, Chinese
Premier Li Keqiang reported that spread of domestically transmitted
epidemic has been basically blocked and the outbreak has been
controlled. China has now announced it will lift the lockdown on Wuhan
on 8 April. Similar lockdown measures have already been lifted (since 25
other cities in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital.
- Costa Rica: curfew
- Egypt: curfew is in effect from 7pm to 6 am
- Denmark: curfew
- France: The country went into full lockdown
on Tuesday 17 March, with citizens banned from leaving their homes
except to buy food or essentials, visit the doctors, or travel to a job
that is certified as not being possible to do from home. Citizens must
carry a document that certifies why they are outside, which must be
shown to security forces. The police is strictly enforcing
rules, and several cases of abuse from the police have been reported already (apparently they can fine you if they don't consider your shopping as "essential" - which is not defined anywhere!).
- Georgia: curfew is in effect from 9pm to 6am
- Germany: restrictions regarding social contact and shutdown
of many industries nationwide since 2020-03-23. The government has been
reluctant to impose a lockdown and instead prefered to rely on the
population responsible behaviour. Howeve, the government banned
gatherings in churches, mosques and synagogues and
ordered non-essential shops as well as playgrounds shut. Venues
including clubs, bars, leisure facilities, zoos and playgrounds
are closed. Restaurants will have to enforce a minimum distance
between tables and work under restricted hours. Schools across the
country have already been closed.
- Greece: lockdown
- India: strict lockdown (21 days). The country has suspended all visas for foreigners until mid-April. India's iconic monument Taj Mahal has shut down.
- Indonesia: local lockdown, Tegal City Government plans to
implement local: lockdown starting March 30, 2020. The policy was taken
following a resident of Tegal City who was positively infected by the
- Iran: Public gatherings, including Friday prayers in Tehran and other major
cities, have been cancelled. Schools have been closed and crews of
cleaners have been dispatched to disinfect trains, buses and gathering
- Ireland: restrictions on movement and gatherings
- Israel: lockdown
- Italy: strong lockdown. Travel is only allowed for
“urgent, verifiable work situations and emergencies, or health
and anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus must not leave their
homes for any reason. Both
universities and schools are closed, with exams now cancelled, and all
gatherings in public places have been banned, not just large-scale
events. All shops and restaurants are closed, with the exception of
grocery stores and pharmacies. All leisure venues,
including ski resorts, have also closed, and sporting events have been
institutions have remained open, although people are to stay a metre
from one another. Marriage ceremonies, baptisms and funerals have been
banned. Anyone trying to move from one city to another has to complete
and present a form stating their urgent reason for trave, and the
absence of justification could trigger a fine.
- Japan: Japan, which earlier banned entry to visitors from
certain areas of China and South Korea, has now extended this to 21
European countries and Iran, and is telling arrivals from the US to go
into quarantine for 14 days.
- Mexico: curfew
- Malaysia: curfew (originally 14 days; expanded to 28 days).
For those who have just returned from overseas, they are required to
undergo a health check and to do a quarantine for 14 days. Malaysia is barring people crossing the border with Singapore from
Wednesday, sparking a rush on food stores in the city state, which
depends on Malaysia for supplies.
- Nepal: lockdown
- Netherlands: restrictions on gatherings
- New Zealand: national lockdown for four weeks excepting
essential services. Borders closed except to citizens, permanent
residents, diplomats and crews. Mandatory quarantine for every person
entering the country for 14 days
- Panama: Panama orders social distancing... by gender. From
Wednesday, men and women will only be able to leave their homes for two
hours at a time, and on different days.
- Paraguay: lockdown
- Philippines: curfew. The Philippines became the first nation to shut its stock exchange indefinitely.
- Romania: lockdown
- Russia: curfew for Moscow from March 28 till April 5. The
parliament has adopted amendments that could jail those breaking
coronavirus quaranine rules as well as those spreading fake news about
- San Marino: lockdown
- Saudi Arabia: lockdown starting March 15. Local: curfew from
March 25 for 21 days (6am until 7pm, except Riyadh, Jeddah, Medina and
Makkah 6am until 3pm).
- South Africa: lockdown from March 26 till April 15
- Spain: lockdown
- Singapore: partial lockdown from March 27 till April 30.
Singapore has banned entry to all foreigners, stopping visitors entering
and requiring all citizens, permanent and long-term residents to
self-isolate at home for 14 days.
- South Korea: Anyone arriving from abroad, including their
own citizens, has to self-isolate for two weeks. People in cities across
the county have been encouraged to stay home, some offices have closed,
and many events are postponed. The nation's schools are closed.
- Sri Lanka: curfew
- Switzerland: curfew
- Taiwan: mandatory self-isolation for everybody
- Tunisia: night curfew
- United Kingdom: Initially the UK was slow to react. At first, the U.K. strategy was an attempt to build “herd immunity,” involved allowing
“enough of us who are going to get mild illness to become immune,” (~60% of the population) Sir
Patrick Vallance, the U.K. government’s chief scientific adviser, told
Sky News. That's only after new simulations of the outbreak
from Imperial College London showed how badly hospitals would be
overwhelmed, prediction between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths, that the UK government suddenly reversed course on Monday 16th March.
while Italy, then France closed schools some weeks before,and went into
lockdown, Prime Minister announced to close all schools by Friday 20th
March (only when the death toll reached 100 on Wednesday 18th March).
Pubs were ordered to shut down over that weekend and eventually, by Tuesday
24th, instruction to stay at home was issued (however construction
workers are still allowed to carry on as long as they stay within two
metres of each other). The police has the power to enforce the order but
rules are not so clear and senior officers have said that they needed to seek the consent of the public.
- United States of America: The US have been issuing
"voluntary" stay-at-home orders. San Francisco and five other Bay
Area counties in California have ordered all residents to “shelter in
place, effective until 7 April. However, all
businesses that are considered non-essential, such as bars and gyms,
have been ordered to close, but the likes of pharmacies, grocery
petrol stations, and restaurants serving takeaway will remain open. New
York has also been placed under lockdown since 22 March, requiring
residents to stay at home. On March 30th, 30 States had decided a
general lockdown, with 11 States choosing a partial
confinement.President Trum was told on 31st March the up to 2.2 millions
Americans could die if social distancing measures were not implemented.
- Venezuela: lockdown
- Serbia: curfew from 5 pm to 5 am
[Sources: Wikipedia, BBC & BBC, EdinburghNews, Telegraph, NPR, National Geographic, politico.eu]
To finish on a more
positive note, we need to remember that most people who contract the
disease recover and 95% of the cases have only mild-symptoms.
Living abroad for over 20 years...