What it means when a country goes into lockdown

Across the globe, countries are closing borders and asking citizens to stay home in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. Many have been left wondering what it means for a country to go into lockdown, especially during this trying times of coronavirus pandemic.

Generally, a lockdown is an emergency protocol that usually prevents people or information from leaving an area. The protocol can usually only be initiated by someone in a position of authority.

During the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic, the term lockdown is being used for actions related to mass quarantines. Lockdowns can limit movements or activities in a community while allowing most organizations to function normally, or limit movements or activities such that only organizations supplying basic needs and services can function normally.

When China announced plans to lock down Wuhan and most of the surrounding Hubei province, the news was greeted with astonishment around the world. Experts warned that it was an unprecedented and risky attempt to control the virus that might not work.

Nearly two months later, with the daily number of new cases in China down to single digits last week, Wuhan is starting to emerge from two months of isolation, and this approach has become the model for other countries with outbreaks that appear to be sliding out of control.

Types of Lockdown

A full lockdown usually means that people must stay where they are and may not enter or exit a building or rooms within said region.

A preventive lockdown can be described as a preemptive action plan implemented to address an unusual scenario or a weakness in the system to preempt any danger to ensure the safety and security of people, organisation and system.

The focus for preventive actions is to avoid dangers and risks arising from the nonconformances to the normal circumstances, but also commonly includes improvements in efficiency.

Most of the African countries have been affected by the pandemic, prompting some of them to initiate lockdown.

The escalating number of confirmed Coronavirus cases reported in South African prompted the government to announce a total lockdown of the country on March 26 until April 16 2020.

Only emergency workers, medical staff, food outlets and people working in other emergency services will be exempted. The Army has already been deployed to help the police to enforce the lockdown.

On March 28 Rwanda deployed policemen and soldiers across the country to enforce a lockdown that went into effect last weekend and has warned that anyone found violating the lockdown will be arrested or fined.

The country’s airspace closed traffic to all commercial flights since March 19 for 30 days, as a measure to stop the importation of the SARs-Cov-2 virus that causes the COVID-19 disease into the country.

President Yoweri Museveni announced a total lockdown in Uganda on Monday night to combat the spread of coronavirus. He faulted his people for not following earlier measures that had been imposed.

The measures will be effective for 14 days among which all malls will not be operational until when the set days lapses.

Emergency lockdowns, on the other hand, are implemented when there is an imminent threat to the lives or risk of injury to humans, Emergency lockdown procedures must be kept short and simple to make them easier to use under real life crisis conditions.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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