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An Italian member of the White Cross in front of a banner expressing gratitude for health workers An Italian member of the White Cross in front of a banner expressing gratitude for health workers   (ANSA)

Covid-19: Governments implement stricter measures to stem spread of coronavirus

As the coronavirus continues to spread across different countries, governments are putting in place measures to help contain it, with many preparing to copy the Chinese and Italian models of near-total lockdown.

By Francesca Merlo

It has been three months since the first case of Covid-19 was recorded in Wuhan, China.

After having brought most of the Chinese nation into lockdown, life there is cautiously returning to normal. Meanwhile, around the world, countries are rapidly following China’s lead.

Heading toward lockdown

Italy has been on lockdown for a week, as of Monday. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced last week that the so-called red zone – which was previously only applied to several northern regions – would be extended to the entire country.

As Italy enters its second week of quarantine, Spain enters its second day. Other European nations and several US states are not far behind.

Local governments have closed schools and shops and banned mass gatherings. Many other countries are planning for a total lockdown in the near-future.

Spirits high

People kept indoors are trying to keep spirits high by organizing daily flash-mobs from their windows and balconies – clapping to thank their healthcare workers, playing instruments, and singing along to traditional songs.

Some are even organizing long-distance group workouts.

UK proposals

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has laid out a plan to put people over the age of 70 into isolation, while leaving everything else running more or less as normal. Many British citizens have labeled the plan as “not enough”.

Health experts agree and say they fear the plan leaves Britons in serious danger.

Worldwide pandemic

The Covid-19 coronavirus has now killed more than 6,500 people and infected over 152,000 worldwide.

Daily deaths outside China surpassed those inside the nation for the first time on Monday.

Though each country is reacting differently to the coronavirus pandemic with widely differing measures, experts say the most basic and important piece of advice to keep the virus from spreading is to wash our hands often.

A good scrubbing – combined with an effort to avoid touching the mouth, nose, and eyes and to stay at home – will hopefully stem the onrushing tide.

16 March 2020, 17:19