More than one billion people self-isolating globally to limit the spread of coronavirus

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaEdited By: Bharat SharmaUpdated: Mar 23, 2020, 05:06 PM IST


Story highlights

Almost 50 countries and territories around the world have enforced lockdowns to limit the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19

More than a billion people have been directed to practice self-isolation and to stay at home, as per an AFP tally released today. 

Almost 50 countries and territories around the world have enforced lockdowns to limit the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19.

Countries with serious cases and escalating death toll like Italy have compulsory lockdown measures in place, while self-quarantining advisories have been put out in other countries.

More than 659 million people are currently isolated at their homes globally, centred in 34 countries with compulsory lockdowns in place. These countries include Italy, France, California in the US, Rwanda, Iraq, and Argentina.

The most recent imposition of mandatory isolation took place in Greece.

Starting Tuesday, Colombia will enforce a complete lockdown, followed by New Zealand on Wednesday.

However, lockdowns do not imply the discontinuation of essential services. All emergency services, including fire, healthcare, and police will function as usual, with grocery stores and ATMs running as they otherwise would.

Trains are seen idle on Amritsar Railway station during a one-day Janata (civil) curfew imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Amritsar on March 22, 2020 | AFP


Iran, Britain, and Germany, which have a collective population of over 228 million people, have requested their citizens to not venture outside their homes to limit social contact.

However, these optional lockdowns have not been completely successful in persuading the people. For instance, people in Britain gathered in parks and beaches over the weekend, while people in Iran didn’t cancel their travel plans for the Persian New Year.

Additionally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently advised countries to do more than lockdowns, for it is not enough to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Many countries have issued curfews and some have barred travel after dark. These ten countries include Chile, the Philippines’ capital city Manila, Mauritania, Serbia, Burkina Faso, with Saudi Arabia to follow suit tonight. These countries account for 117 million people.

Many countries have also isolated major cities, limiting the entry and exit of people. Almaty and  Bulgaria are among these countries that account for 10 million people.

As of now, based on the Johns Hopkins University tracker, at least 341,000 people have been infected with COVID-19. Around 14,700 have died.

Starting today, more than 750 million people in India have been placed under lockdown until March 31. Restrictions are travel, work, and movement based.

The US recently reported 400 deaths owing to the virus.

(With inputs from agencies)