As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, some countries are putting their citizens on lockdown. "Lockdown" isn't a technical term used by public health officials, but Italy, China, El Salvador, New Zealand, Poland, Ireland, and Denmark are countries that have implemented the largest and most restrictive mass quarantines. More than 5,000 people have died and over 145,000 have been infected by the virus worldwide. Wuhan, China, where the virus first appeared, has been locked down for more than six weeks, and many other Chinese cities still face travel restrictions. Italy's 60 million citizens were put under a strict lockdown this week after a jump in COVID-19 cases. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Countries around the world are implementing measures to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, from national quarantines to closing schools. After a surge in COVID-19 cases in Italy, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy put the entire country on lockdown, restricting travel, leisure, work, churchgoing, and other aspects of life for its 60 million citizens. Italy has the highest coronavirus death toll in the world outside China: At least 15,000 people have been infected and more than 1,000 have died there, according to The New York Times. Italy's lockdown may be the largest quarantine outside of China, where almost half of China's population — about 780 million people — were under some kind of travel restriction, according to a February 17 estimate by CNN. El Salvador has imposed a national quarantine on its population of 6.4 million people and banned foreigners from entering the country despite having no confirmed cases of the virus so far. The World Health Organization (WHO), which officially declared the outbreak a pandemic this week, has called on "all countries to continue efforts that have been effective in limiting the number of cases and slowing the spread of the virus." While "lockdown" isn't a technical term used by public health officials, it can refer to anything from mandatory geographic quarantines to non-mandatory recommendations to stay at home and closures of certain types of businesses or bans on events and gatherings, Lindsay Wiley, a health law professor at the Washington College of Law, told Vox. Here are the countries that have implemented mandatory mass quarantines so far.SEE ALSO: Coronavirus live updates: More than 111,000 people have been infected and nearly 3,900 have died. The US has reported 22 deaths. Here's everything we know. DON'T MISS: What to buy if you're quarantined at home during the coronavirus outbreak China implemented the largest quarantine in human history to try to contain the novel coronavirus, locking down at least 16 cities at the end of January.
An analysis by CNN in mid-February found that almost half of China's population — about 780 million people — was under some kind of travel restriction. At its peak, China's quarantine spanned at least 20 provinces and regions, according to The Wall Street Journal. Wuhan, where the virus first appeared, was locked down on January 23, cutting off transport to the city and closing many public spaces. For almost six weeks, the streets have been virtually deserted as Wuhan residents self-quarantine in their homes. Soon after imposing restrictions on Wuhan, China locked down 15 other cities, including Huanggang, a city of 7.5 million people, and Suizhou, which is home to almost 11 million. As the quarantine continues, some Wuhan residents are facing food shortages, and grocery stores are struggling to meet increased demand for home delivery. On February 24, Wuhan authorities announced they would ease quarantine restrictions and allow some healthy people to live the city, only to reverse the decision hours later. According to WHO, China's containment measures prevented many more cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. "There's no question that China's bold approach to the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of what was a rapidly escalating and continues to be a deadly epidemic," Bruce Aylward, a Canadian doctor and epidemiologist who was recently sent to China as part of a delegation to inspect its containment efforts, told The New York Times on February 24. One study, however, found that the travel restrictions in Wuhan only slowed domestic spread of the virus by three to five days because there were already cases in other cities at the time of the lockdown. As China sees a drop-off in rates of new cases, the disease continues to rapidly spread in other countries. In Italy, a nationwide lockdown went into effect on March 10 that restricts virtually all aspects of life for its 60 million citizens, including retail, leisure, worship, imprisonment, and travel.
More than 1,000 people have died from the virus in Italy, and at least 15,000 people have been infected, according to The New York Times. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte described the quarantine policy as "I stay home," according to the BBC. Large sporting events, schools and universities, museums, cultural centers, swimming pools, and spas have been shut down throughout the country, as Business Insider's Mia Jankowicz reported. While public transportation and airports are still operating, only essential travel is allowed, and those who want to travel for valid work or family-related reasons need police permission. Other restrictions of the quarantine include mortgage payments being suspended, a ban on family visits to prisoners, and healthcare workers being told to cancel their vacations. The prime minister said on Monday that restaurants, cafés, and shops could stay open until 6 p.m. if they could guarantee customers would stay at least three feet apart. But on March 11, a day after the lockdown went into effect, Prime Minister Conte announced that all stores except for grocery stores and pharmacies would be closed. Denmark became the second European country to impose a nationwide lockdown in response to the coronavirus.
The government announced a country-wide lockdown that will begin on March 14 and last until April 13 in a bid to contain the spread of the disease. "We are in uncharted territory. We are in the middle of something none of us have faced before," Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a press conference, citing The Local Denmark. "Right now, I know that the overall list of measures is very extreme and will be seen as very extreme, but I am convinced that it is worth it." Ireland announced Thursday it would impose a country-wide lockdown to contain the spread of the disease.
All schools, colleges, childcare facilities and cultural institutions will be closed, the New York Post reported. Indoor gatherings were also limited to no more than 100 people, and outdoor no more than 500. "We have not witnessed a pandemic of this nature in living memory," Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said from Washington, DC, citing the Irish Times. El Salvador's president announced an Alerta Naranja — an orange alert — on Wednesday.
The orange alert measures include a national quarantine on the country's 6.4 million citizens, closing schools for three weeks, and requiring a 30-day quarantine on Salvadorans returning home from abroad. The move also barred foreigners from entering the country and banned gatherings of more than 500 people, according to The Washington Post. El Salvador, which has a population of about 6.4 million, has no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus so far. "I know this will be criticized, but let's put ourselves in Italy's shoes. Italy wishes they could've done this before," El Salvador President Nayib Bukele said in a national address on Wednesday, according to the Post. "Our health system is not at Italy's level. It's not at South Korea's level." Poland announced it would undergo a countrywide lockdown on Friday.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced Friday the country would undergo a nationwide lockdown, "banning foreigners from entering the country as well as shutting all restaurants, bars and casinos," The Daily Mail reported. 'The state will not abandon (its citizens)," Morawiecki said, citing The Mail. "However, in the current situation we cannot allow ourselves to keep borders open to foreigners." People from abroad entering the country will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. New Zealand announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all individuals entering the country.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced "far-reaching and unprecedented" measures Saturday local time as the country attempts to prevent the sprad of the virus. Everyone entering the country must isolate themselves for 14 days, she said, and all cruise ships will not be allowed to dock in the country until June 30, Reuters reported.
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