How are other countries limiting movement to stop COVID-19?

We aren’t alone in this
by Drei Laurel | Apr 7, 2020
PHOTO: Free-Photos/Pixabay

Well, that’s that. The Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine period and its accompanying public transportation ban and movement restrictions has been extended at least until April 30, 2020.

Making the situation a harder pill to swallow is the fact that it’ll run its course through Holy Week—a time usually reserved for road trips, visiting relatives in the province, and just plain old taking a breather from our everyday grind. Sad, but if this is what it takes to keep a deadly respiratory virus like COVID-19 at bay, then so be it.

If it’s any consolation, we aren’t alone in dealing with this health crisis. Countless places across the world, including some of the most developed countries on the planet, are currently dealing with the same thing. Here’s what other governments are doing transportation-wise to halt the spread of the coronavirus:

State of New York

The US is currently dealing with the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, with over 330,000 recorded and more than 8,900 deaths so far.

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Of the country’s 50 states, the State of New York has been hit the hardest by the coronavirus with more than 119,000 reported cases of COVID-19. The state has ordered all nonessential businesses, services, and infrastructure to remain closed until the situation is re-evaluated on April 29, 2020. Nonessential workforce have also been asked to stay at home.

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Restaurants and bars are permitted to operate, though only for take-out and delivery. Buses, rail lines, and vehicles-for-hire are listed as essential infrastructure, while automotive repair shops and bike repair shops are considered essential services. Houses of worship have not been ordered closed, though the state strongly recommends against the holding of services during this pandemic.

Those caught violating state social distancing protocols also face a $500 to $1,000 fine.

India

India, the world’s second-most populated country, announced a nationwide lockdown on March 25, 2020 in hopes of halting the spread of COVID-19 within its borders. It is currently being enforced in all 36 of India’s states until April 14, 2020.

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Under the nationwide lockdown, only utilities, healthcare services and facilities, municipal services, and groceries are permitted to operate, and there is a strict ban on nonessential travel. Citizens are required to practice social distancing and remain confined inside their homes. A curfew is also currently being enforced.

One of the biggest challenges in enforcing a total lockdown on a population as big as India’s is how the government plans to deal with its migrant workforce, with reports of urban laborers being forced to walk back to their provinces after the lockdown kicked into effect. In Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populated state, chaos reportedly ensued after officials deployed buses to ferry workers back home.

Italy

In Italy— one of Europe’s hardest-hit nations and the country with the largest number of recorded COVID-19 deaths—the Minister of Health and by the Minister of the Interior adopted an ordinance on March 22 prohibiting the movement of people, whether by public or private means, unless for essential work, trips to avail of essential services, or health emergencies. Individuals leaving their homes are also required to have a completed self-declaration form to present to authorities.

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Groceries, pharmacies and other essential businesses remain operational, and the movement of goods remains unhindered across all of Italy. Domestic and international land, sea, and air modes of travel are now servicing in a limited capacity or non-operational altogether.

Access to places of worship is allowed, though mass gatherings are prohibited and the practice of social distancing is required. Pet owners will also be glad to know taking their dog out for walks and emergency trips to the vet are allowed provided social distancing guidelines are observed.

These measures were initially only scheduled to last until April 3, 2020, but the government has extended its lockdown's duration until April 13.

Singapore

At the moment, Singapore’s ‘Disease Outbreak Response System Condition’ (DORSCON) is at level orange. DORSCON orange is the second-highest level next to ‘red,’ and indicates person-to-person transmission and that a disease is being contained. Red, on the other hand, indicates a disease that is widespread.

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Under DORSCON orange, there is a moderate disruption to daily public life in the form of temperature screenings and visitation restrictions at hospitals. Modes of public transportation continue to operate, including private-hire cars and taxi services, though ridership has reportedly nosedived since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

The Singapore government is also implementing heightened social-distancing measures until May 4, 2020, with large gatherings prohibited and only essential services remaining open. Right now, schools are using home-based learning services, most workplaces remain closed, and social distancing is being encouraged.

Spain

Spain currently has the second-most number of recorded COVID-19 cases in the world next only to the US. Here, movement by personal transportation is permitted to some extent, though is discouraged by authorities. Cars, for example, can only ferry up to one person per row, meaning a regular sedan may only carry one passenger and one driver.

Public transportation continues to operate, though the Spanish government is discouraging its use unless absolutely necessary. Public buses are only allowed to ferry up to a third of their maximum passenger capacity. Rail lines have reduced trips by half during off-peak hours, and to just 80% during peak hours, too.

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On April 6, Minister for Health José Luis Ábalos shared that the government’s transport restrictions has played a crucial role in flattening the curve in Spain. According to him, the number of people using the country’s commuter rail network has dropped by 95%. Prime minister Pedro Sánchez has already asked Congress to extend Spain’s state of alarm until April 25, 2020.

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