In order to combat a revival of the coronavirus, countries around the world have increased controls on their populations. Governments are seeking to counter an increase in cases attributable to the current strain of COVID-19, from local curfews to alcohol bans and full lockdowns. About a third of the population of the earth is under some sort of constraint.
Officially calling the epidemic a pandemic, the World Health Organization has called for “all countries to continue efforts that have been effective in limiting the number of cases and slowing the spread of the virus.”
After weeks of holiday celebrations, analysts say the worst is yet to come, predicting a sharp increase in infections and deaths.
Here are the different steps that countries around the world are taking to curb the spread of the latest strain of COVID-19.
Up until at least mid-February, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson instituted a new stay-at-home lockdown to combat through the crucial moment in the coronavirus pandemic, which has been intensified by a new highly transmissible strain of the deadly virus.
Addressing the nation on Monday night in a televised address from Downing Street, Johnson said the UK is at a crucial stage in its battle against rapidly spreading pathogens as it announced a full shutdown of schools and companies, similar to the very first national lockdown back in March 2020.
Earlier on Monday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issued a stay-at-home order for Scotland, beginning at midnight and lasting until the end of January.
Scotland’s lockdown, which is for the mainland and Skye, will also see schools closed to pupils, places of worship closed and group exercise banned.
“It is no exaggeration to say that I am more concerned about the situation we face now than I have been at any time since March last year,” Ms Sturgeon said.
The Netherlands in December imposed a five-week lockdown until January 19, 2021, closing all schools and non-essential stores, in an effort to curb the spread of the disease. “The Netherlands is closing down. We realise the gravity of our decisions, right before Christmas,” said the country’s Prime Minister Mark Rutte.
Non-essential businesses, gyms, museums, cinemas and theatres have all shut.
Germany went into a strict lockdown on December 16, closing all non-essential shops and imposing curfews in some areas, with the measures expected to last until at least January 10.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Germans to avoid unnecessary travel and to limit social contacts to an absolute minimum.
Germany has also expanded its ban on passenger flights from the UK to forbid passenger transport by rail, bus and ship.
Austria has scrapped plans to allow anyone with a negative coronavirus test to exit lockdown a week early, effectively extending strict measures and keeping restaurants and non-essential stores shut until January 24, news agency APA reported on Monday.
The decision came after Austria’s opposition parties blocked a draft law that would have allowed an early exit from lockdown for anyone producing a negative test for the coronavirus.
It was not immediately clear whether schools are also to remain closed until January 24 or if they can open as originally planned on January 18, APA reported.
Poland imposed a three-week partial lockdown from December 28, with shopping centres and ski slopes closed as well as a travel restriction on New Year’s Eve. The lockdown will last until at least January 17.