The COVID19 pandemic has led to unprecedented actions worldwide, forcing many countries to move their citizens to compulsory quarantine for a period of time of more than 14 days.
We will share the actions that governments have taken, how citizens have spent their time in quarantine to help each other and how their role has contributed to raising morale.
Governmental actions and restrictions around the world:
- China was the first in terms of starting quarantine measures, as it established huge hospitals in a record period of time in Wuhan and imposed strict health measures, such as imposing curfews, and placing tens of thousands in quarantine, after it closed all educational institutions, public services and the private sector.
China used thousands of drones to educate people on the streets of its cities of the need to adhere to ways to prevent the virus, such as wearing masks and jumps, and avoiding gatherings.
The authorities have also used more than 300 million cameras on the streets to monitor citizens behaviours, and to prosecute those who fail to comply with safety standards.
China also created a mobile app and provided it to more than 100 million people, helping them determine whether a person suffering from coronavirus is standing next to them.
- Jordan closed all educational institutions and public services belonging to the private sector. Jordan also isolated those coming to the country in hotels at the expense of the state for a period of 14 days to ensure that they pass the incubation period of the disease. Upon conclusion of the quarantine, they were delivered to their homes under the supervision of the army, and quarantine was applied to them in their homes.
During the daytime, police cars and patrols were encouraging citizens to stay in the homes, and all basic necessities was provided for the door of the house through phone order.
- South Korea, with a population of 50 million, has taken a totally different measure by not closing the country or applying isolation measures for the whole country.
The government has screened and tested hundreds of thousands of people on the roads, streets, and drivers in their cars, and monitored citizens with potential of carrying the coronavirus using cell phones and satellite technology. South Korean President Moon Ki-ji described the government's efforts as "waging war" against the threat.
- Italy’s government quarantined 60 million people in their homes, requiring residents not to leave unless absolutely necessary, such as the purchase of necessities. Anyone who left their home was required to provide strong justification for their exit, or face a fine of 206 euros, or up to a three-month prison sentence for violating health regulations.
- Spain also started a general closure and isolation measures, closing all unnecessary places and shops, and people were asked not to leave their homes unless there was an urgent need. In some cities, police officers played the children’s song “Baby Shark” as a thank you for staying off the streets.
- Australia fines anyone who does not comply with the new rules of isolation, paying a large fine or even imprisonment in some areas of the country. The most expensive punishment is in Western Australia, where a person who breaks the isolation laws can be fined up to A $ 50,000.
- In Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, the cases of isolation and quarantine were similar, as a curfew was put in place and was announced to all citizens via loudspeaker. In addition, all religious rites and gatherings were cancelled. Police patrols drove around and played national and popular songs, encouraging them to stay at home and addressing them with loudspeakers to stay at home and adhere to means of virus protection, such as wearing masks and gloves, and away from gatherings.
Contributions of citizens around the world:
- Around the world to combat the boredom at home and to provide amusement to neighbours and friends, a new activity was created where people wear strange and innovative costumes to throw garbage bags out.
Through this activity, people use the few meters allowed to pass outside a house on the street to create a fashion show and then publish the photos via social media.
- In Italy and Spain, some sang on balconies, musicians played music from the balconies.
- In Jordan, national songs and applause were at eight in the evening to encourage each other to stay at home and maintain the quarantine. In times when citizens were allowed to roam to obtain basic supplies such as bread, vegetables and fruits, some citizens created local working groups that were tasked to guide citizens on a safe path to shopping. People also guided individuals to keep a safe distance while they wait for their turn in obtaining bread, organizing turns, and the number of citizens allowed inside open store. A group of volunteers also sterilized cars in the streets to maintain the safety of citizens who they have to go to work during the quarantine and having to use their cars to go to work for fear that the doors of the cars are contaminated with the Coronavirus.
- Indonesia, volunteers from Java district carried out "sudden patrols" every few days in disguise as "Pukong" a ghost known in the local folklore. Wandering around as this ghost makes the citizens feel uncomfortable from being outside the home and prefer to stay at home to avoid meeting the "Pukong" ghost.
- United Arab Emirates - Dubai Through cooperation with ASICS and the Dubai Sports Council, the “5:30” Running Club organized the “Marathon at Home” initiative, to enhance the country's goal to have citizens and residents stay at home. The initiative challenges athletes, who have previous experience in the marathon, to complete a 42.195 km run, within the limits of their homes, whether indoors, in the garden, or even on the balcony of the house.
They asked participants to refrain from running on the treadmill or running in public places, and participants were asked to join the "Marathon at Home" group on the "Strava" running application. Through the app participants could track their marathon times and progress on their smartphone.
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