COVID Lockdown

Russia Debating Nationwide Lockdown In Response To Coronavirus Pandemic

Russia is moving towards a nationwide lockdown as coronavirus concerns continue to grow. This Monday, Moscow’s Mayor Sergei Sobyanin ordered his 12.7 million residents to stay home beginning this week. President Vladimir Putin defended the Mayor’s tough actions as “justified” considering the severity of the pandemic that the entire world is currently enduring. 

The exceptions to Moscow’s lockdown policy include leaving your home for emergencies/supplies, and as of right now the measures will be in effect until April 14th. Confirmed cases of covid-19 jumped up to 1,220 this week, a fifth of them occurring over the course of one night, hence the new strict measures. Official data cites that nine people in Russia have died due to the coronavirus as well. 

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“Over the coming week, a smart system of monitoring compliance with the home regime and established rules for the movement of citizens will be deployed. Muscovites with a mild course of COVID-2019 are being treated under the supervision of doctors at home. As prescribed by doctors, they will receive antiviral drugs for free. Also, as a preventive measure, doctors and other specialists involved in counteracting the spread of new coronavirus infection will receive free antiviral drugs. Free medicine will be delivered by an ambulance, clinic staff or volunteers,” Moscow Mayor Sibyanin said in an online statement this week. 

Emergency medical reasons, work obligations, and going to the grocery store/pharmacy are the only valid reasons Moscow residents are allowed to leave their homes. If they need to walk their pet they must remain within 300 feet of their property and must remain at least 6 feet away from any other individuals that they may be around. Like in the US, Sobyanin ordered this lockdown after closing all non-essential businesses. So far movement in the city is down by two-thirds, and he hopes these continued efforts will keep that movement to a minimum. 

Moscow was under major fire from the World Health Organization last week after multiple pictures were shared online of the capital’s streets continuing to be flooded with people enjoying the weather. Other residents were clearly taking advantage of their week-long paid leave, given recently by Putin within certain industries, which was a major cause for concern. 

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“Russia is readying itself for an explosive development like a nuclear reaction with the coronavirus pandemic. In the near future, large numbers of people will fall ill and need medical treatment,” Nikolai Malyshev, a leading infectious diseases specialist in the Russian Health Ministry, said. 

On March 25th Putin made a national address in which he enforced the closings of all non-essential businesses. He offered expanded unemployment packages for those who would lose their jobs as a result of the pandemic. Unlike Sibyanin, however, Putin didn’t enforce any specific nationwide policies regarding social-distancing and overall citizen movement.

Putin also offered paid leave benefits for certain companies and individuals in order to motivate them to stay home, although that wasn’t a clear requirement for receiving that compensation. Sibyanin is fighting for even more restrictive measures, and is claiming that Putin and his health officials are severely underestimating the impact of this virus. Last week, Putin refused to lockdown the capitol as a part of these measures, which is what prompted the extreme backlash from WHO. 

The total number of positive cases in Russia is very low when compared to other countries in the world, however, their policies have been some of the most progressive and strict, which could be the reason that they haven’t seen any major spikes in cases yet. However, as we know, dealing with this virus really is a waiting game, so taking these strict precautionary measures now is what will help minimize the damaging effects that we’ll likely see within the next month.

Virus Attacking South Africa

South Africa Goes Under Lockdown In Response To Rapid Rise In Coronavirus Cases

Africa is the newest continent to be reporting cases of Covid-19 throughout its many countries. According to Africa’s Centers For Disease Control there are now more than 2,400 confirmed cases of the coronavirus across Africa, which is extremely alarming considering the many parts of the continent that have under-resourced health services. 

The World Health Organization has claimed multiple times that any statistics regarding case numbers should be viewed as a significant underestimation of what the actual number likely is because of how long of an incubation period the coronavirus endures before actually showing any symptoms among its carriers. So far Africa has reported around 60 deaths so far, a third of all of the cases are in South Africa as well. 

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Zweli Mkhize, South Africa’s health minister claimed this week that the country has seen over 700 cases of Covid-19, a majority of which appeared over the course of one day. In response, South Africa will be going under a strict 21-day lockdown beginning this week to avoid spreading the virus further. The lockdown practices will mirror that of certain policies in the US and Europe that are also under quarantine. Only essential businesses will remain open and individuals can only leave their home if it is to seek medical attention or buy supplies/groceries. All restaurants, bars, food-outlets, etc. will also be fully closed down, and the repercussions for breaking these strict policies will have severe consequences. 

“Anyone thinking of ignoring the restrictions [could] face six months in prison, a fine or both, two people have already been charged with attempted murder for refusing to obey orders to self-isolate. You buy food and go and cook it at home. You can drink what you have at your home. There is no need to be on the road. There is no need to move around. There will be no dogs that shall be walked. If you want to walk your dog, walk your dog around your yard,” Bheki Cele, South Africa’s police minister, said at a press conference

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Cele also announced new measures to increase policing efforts against gender-based violence towards homeless individuals and prisoners as well during these times where human rights are literally on the line. Throughout South Africa there are millions of younger individuals who are more vulnerable than younger individuals in other parts of the world with more established healthcare facilities, especially due to an influx of individuals dealing with HIV or malnutrition.

Healthcare systems all throughout South Africa have always dealt with a lack of resources and proper funding, hence the strict lockdown policies, as they really don’t have all the supplies they need to cope with a global pandemic. Other measures that have been taken include suspended flights and overall travel restrictions to/from Europe and the US especially. 

Rwanda and Kenya have also imposed lock down efforts and curfews, and the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, announced that along with other Kenyan government officials, he would be foregoing a majority of his salary to contribute towards a financial package for their country. Ethiopia will be releasing more than 4,000 prisoners to de-congest their jails to deal with the outbreak as well.

Health officials across Africa are aware how severely unprepared they are for this virus, especially considering they could barely care for the extensive number of regular patients they have throughout a given year. South African authorities are working to protect overcrowded neighborhoods and strictly upkeep social distancing and quarantine policies, however, certain remote villages make this impossible. International services and charity organizations are scrambling to help, but it can be hard when the entire world is dealing with the same issue. For more ways on how you can potentially help, visit the World Health Organization’s website