/Coronavirus: The unusual ways countries are managing lockdowns

Coronavirus: The unusual ways countries are managing lockdowns


A woman walks her dog during a curfew imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease in BelgradeImage copyright
Reuters

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Serbia’s nightly “dog-walking hour” did not quite work and had to be scrapped

Countries across the globe are taking unprecedented measures to prevent the coronavirus spreading, ranging from the extreme to the relaxed to the creative.

We’ve taken a look at some of the more unusual steps countries have taken to combat Covid-19.

1) Panama

The Central American country, which has had close to a thousand confirmed cases, has announced strict quarantine measures separating people by gender in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

From Wednesday, men and women will be able to leave their homes for only two hours at a time, and on different days.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

In Panama, the restrictions of movement are now based on gender

No-one will be allowed to go out on Sundays.

“This absolute quarantine is for nothing more than to save your life,” security minister Juan Pino said at a press conference.

2) Colombia

In some Colombian towns, people are allowed outside based on the last number of their national ID number.

For example, people in Barrancabermeja with an ID number ending in 0, 7 or 4 are allowed to leave the house on Monday, while those with an ID number ending 1, 8 or 5 can go outside on Tuesday.

Nearby Bolivia is proposing a similar approach.

3) Serbia

At one point, Serbia’s government introduced a “dog-walking hour” from 20:00 to 21:00 for those in lockdown. But that has now been scrapped, to howls of protest from dog-owners.

One vet said that skipping the evening walk could worsen the condition for the dogs with urinary problems and “aggravate basic hygienic conditions in people’s homes”.

4) Belarus

Image copyright
EPA

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Social distancing may be the current rule in many countries but not in Belarus

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has been raising plenty of eyebrows with his attitude towards the coronavirus outbreak.

He laughed off the suggestion that his country should try to stem the spread of the coronavirus, because he couldn’t see the virus “flying around”.

Speaking to a TV reporter at an indoor ice hockey match, he also claimed that crowds at the match were fine because the coldness of the stadium would prevent the virus from spreading.

There is no evidence that this could be the case and the coronavirus cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Unlike most of Europe, Belarus has not placed any restrictions on sports events.

“There are no viruses here,” Mr Lukashenko said. “You haven’t seen them flying around, have you? I don’t see them either! This is a fridge. Sport, particularly the ice, this fridge here, that’s the best antiviral cure!”

He has also cited drinking vodka and regular trips to the sauna as ways to ward off the virus – which is completely at odds with professional advice.

5) Sweden

Unlike its neighbours, Sweden has taken a relaxed attitude when it comes to lockdown measures, despite close to 4,500 confirmed cases there. The government hopes people will behave sensibly, and trusts them to do the right thing.

Gatherings of more than 50 people were banned on Sunday but schools for children under the age of 16 remain open.

Pubs and restaurants can still offer table service and many people are still socialising as normal.

The strategy is dividing opinion both at home and abroad, but only time will tell whether the Swedes’ laid-back approach will backfire.

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