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Here's How Other Countries Are Dealing With the Coronavirus

United Kingdom

Update 4/23/20: The UK government has extended the nationwide lockdown to at least the beginning of May. The government is still implementing very strict measures on daily life. People are restricted to leave their homes unless they have essential reasons and gatherings of more than two people are forbidden. 


On March 17th, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson essentially locked the country down from all but essential services. Currently, citizens are only allowed to leave their homes for essential shopping, exercise, or medical treatment. However, as of March 31st, citizens have complained (with proof) that certain police departments have been enforcing harsh measures that were not part of Johnson's lockdown order. These include harassing store owners for selling chocolate Easter eggs or fining drivers for going on boredom drives--both of which are not restricted.

(Image via Ilyas Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)


Italy has been one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus. As of April 13, Italy has extended its lockdown to May 3. However, the country is beginning to lift some of the stricter measures originally implemented. While people are still mandated to stay at home unless its essential, businesses like bookstores and retail shops are beginning to reopen. 


As of March 31st, the nation has been on lockdown for three weeks now. At this point the country is at a virtual standstill--movement is highly restricted in the country and all non-essential business are shut down. However, in recent days, mounting social unrest has rocked the southern portion of the country. Looting and riots over dwindling finances and food supplies has led the government to allocate billions to food relief, but it remains to be seen if this will quell the fallout from such a major distruption of life and liberties.  

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Update 4/23/20: Japan declared a state of emergency on April 7 as coronavirus cases soared. Compared to other countries, Japan has a relatively small number of infections. But cases began to surge in Tokyo, and concerns grew quickly. The country is under a partial lockdown until the middle of May. 

The first cases of coronavirus appeared in Japan in January 2020, but they have somehow managed to maintain an infection and death rate that is considerably smaller than other countries. Restrictions and recommendations for the country have come in waves, with one of the first being the closure of all schools in February until April. Later, the country recommended avoiding crowds and non-essential gatherings, but the country has not yet experienced the dramatic lockdowns that others have faced. 

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South Korea

South Korea has managed to conquer the coronavirus without a lockdown. The country managed to slow and reduce the number of new cases in a way that many other parts of the world haven't been able to. What's really surprising, though, is that South Korea has managed to do this without some of the more widespread and draconian restrictions--and this is largely thanks to their early and extensive testing of suspected infected individuals. 

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As of April 23, Germany is slowly starting to reopen. Businesses such as florists, bike shops, and bookstores started reopening this week all across the country. Theaters and restaurants will remain closed for a couple more weeks. Although mass gatherings will be banned until at least August 31, schools plan to reopen on May 4. 

As of March 25th, Germany had one of the highest infection rates in the world, which was made puzzling by the fact that they also currently have THE lowest death rate in the world. Like South Korea, it's believed that Germany has managed to escaped the more brutal death rates thanks to responding with aggressive testing of citizens. That being said, Germany is also seeing some of the more common restrictions--like school and bar closures. 

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Along with Italy, Spain has been one of the hardest-hit European countries, and that may be caused by their slower response to the virus. Spain is slowly beginning to reopen as of April 23. Non-essential workers in manufacturing and construction have been allowed to return to work. However, the rest of the country remains in lockdown until at least May 9. 

A state of emergency was declared on March 14th, which essentially put the country on lockdown. Like other countries, citizens are only allowed to leave their homes to buy necessities, go to work, receive medical care, or care for a loved one. 

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The Chinese response to the coronavirus has either been terrible, amazing, or both--depending on who you ask. Because of the government's authoritarian bent and less-than-stellar track record about lying to citizens or the global public, it's hard to view China's infection numbers without suspicion, but they currently have seen a dramatic drop in new cases. And if this is indeed the case, it's probably thanks to the harsh quarantine measures they put into place in mid-January. Almost have of the massive country's population was told to stay at home except to buy food or for a medical emergency. 

Update 4/23/20: The 76-day lockdown in Wuhan was lifted on April 8, but normal life still remains distant. Stringent lockdowns remain in place across other areas of China. Most businesses will remain closed for at least several more weeks. Restaurants are reopening, but only for deliveries. These restrictions will be lifted gradually over the next couple months. 

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South Africa

On April 9, South Africa extended the lockdown through at least the end of April. Only essential businesses remain open at this time, and people are urged to remain in their homes. Police and soliders are constantly monitoring the streets to enforce these restrictions. Some businesses and a third of their employees expect to return to work on May 1.

On March 23rd, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa announced a three-week lockdown for the country. This came after South Africa exceeded 400 confirmed cases of the virus--higher than anywhere else in Africa. Like many other countries, this order restricts all but essential travel for things like food and medical help. However, in an unusual twist, this order prevents essential stores from selling non-essential items as well. Even going outside for exercise is completely banned in the country. In a truly shocking and disgusting twist to these necessary restrictions, police were seen shooting rubber bullets at grocery store patrons who were standing too close to one another in line. 

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From a medical standpoint, Singapore has had one of the most remarkable responses to the outbreak. While the rest of the world is still waiting for the worst to hit, the small Asian country is seeing major improvements. As of April 21, the lockdown measure were extended through June 1 to try and fight the pandemic.

That being said, their measures were extremely aggressive and authoritarian in a way that many Western countries can't or won't emulate. This includes aggressive, 24/7 tracking of citizens who have been in contact with an infected individual and strict quarantine procedures. One man has already lost his permanent resident status in the country for breaking quarantine and a couple has been charged for lying about where they had traveled. 

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New Zealand

Update 4/24/20 - New Zealand has only had 17 deaths due to coronavirus. The country did have one of the world's strictest lockdowns, but it seems that it has certainly paid off. The country plans to relax restrictions beginning April 27. Some schools and businesses will reopen, but people are encouraged to continue working from home, if possible. 

The first case of coronavirus in New Zealand showed up on February 28th, and as of March 23rd, the country is in full lockdown mode. Non-essential business are shut down and residents are asked to stay inside for one month. Shockingly, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said this order would be enforced by the military--a trend that has thankfully remained rare in the rest of the Western world. 

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