FILE PHOTO. EPA-EFE/IAN LANGSDON

Countries apply different lockdown strategies

Lockdown measures can help prevent the virus spreading, yet governments have taken very different approaches to imposing restrictions on their populations.

DURBAN – As Covid-19 cases continue to increase governments across the globe are implementing different strategies to impose restrictions on their populations.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund, total lockdowns remain uncommon while at least 82 countries have some form of lockdown in place.

Although not many countries have had experience in combating infectious diseases, many took tough measures even before there were any reported outbreaks.

Lockdown measures can help prevent the virus from spreading. Governments have taken very different approaches in imposing restrictions on their populations.

The World Health Organization (WHO) commended South Africa for its swift action on containing the spread of the virus through a strict lockdown and medical rollouts. The country first entered lockdown on March 27. It was then extended to the end of April with a slight easing of lockdown regulations.

According to international media, the South African lockdown is seen as one of the strictest around the world.

Some 13 countries in Africa closed schools before documenting their first cases of Covid-19. In Ghana lockdown restrictions were placed in major cities. Those restrictions have now been lifted. However; social events and public gatherings are still banned and school closures have remained.

On Tuesday, a Malawi High Court extended indefinitely an order barring the government from imposing a 21-day Covid-19 lockdown announced by President Peter Mutharika earlier this month. The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) argued that the government had failed to announce any measures to cushion the poor and vulnerable from the effects of the lockdown which was due to start on April 19.

Meanwhile, in Europe, Spain has joined Italy and France in preparing to loosen restrictions in early May. Britain is holding off on any changes to its lockdown as the virus death toll topped 20,000. The figure doesn’t include nursing home deaths; believed to be in the thousands.

Sweden’s Covid-19 strategy has become the subject of much attention in recent weeks. While much of the world is under lockdown or testing, Sweden has opted to do neither.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reiterated its stance on the lifting of lockdown measures aimed at protecting the public against the spread of Covid-19. 

Addressing the media last week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “So-called lockdowns can help to take the heat out of a country’s epidemic, but they cannot end it alone.”

He added; “Countries must now ensure they can detect, test, isolate, care for every case and trace every contact.”

 

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