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Explained: How European countries have implemented coronavirus lockdown

In Italy, printed certificates are needed to step out. In France, outdoor exercise is permitted for one hour per day.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi | Updated: March 31, 2020 4:08:02 am
coronavirus latest news, coronavirus latest updates, coronavirus lockdown, coronavirus lockdown europe, coronavirus italy, coronavirus france, coronavirus UK, express explained, indian express An image from a drone video on March 19 shows the empty streets of Paris during lockdown to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Photo: (Prefecture de Police de Paris via AP)

To tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, several countries around the world have enforced lockdowns. Last week, after India joined the list, the movement of more than 300 crore people (over one-third of humanity) came under severe restrictions.

Among all continents, Europe has seen the most number of deaths due to the novel coronavirus, and many countries here have significantly clamped down on public life to combat the outbreak.

Here’s a look at how the five most-affected countries in Europe are implementing the lockdown.


(Population 6 crore, has the highest number of infections and deaths in the continent)

Lockdown deadline – Indefinite, could extend up to July 31

What is not allowed – Travel within the country is banned, except for urgent reasons. Non-essential activities, schools, universities are closed.

What activities are allowed – Essential activities such as pharmacies, supermarkets, banks, and post offices are allowed to operate.

People are allowed to leave their homes for a limited number of activities, such as going to buy groceries, a visit to the doctor, and exercising alone close to home (except in hardest-hit Lombardy). Those leaving the house must carry a printed certificate that states their reason. The police check these certificates.

Penalties for defying lockdown orders – Fines between EUR 300 to 3,000, or imprisonment for three months. In the Lombardy region, fines are as high as EUR 5,000.


(population 4.6 crore, most affected after Italy both in number of infections and deaths)

Lockdown deadline – April 11

What is not allowed – External borders with European neighbours are closed. Non-essential activities, schools, hotels, are shut.

Also Read | A cat has tested positive for coronavirus. Can your pet infect you?

What activities are allowed – Only essential activities such as grocery shopping, medical appointments, and visits to the pharmacy are allowed. Exercising outdoors is banned; only taking a dog for a walk is permitted. Permission is required to move around.

Penalties for defying lockdown orders – EUR 601 to 30,000, according to a Politico report.


(population 6.7 crore)

Lockdown deadline – April 15

What is not allowed – All non-essential services, open air markets, public gatherings are banned.

What activities are allowed – In France, too, permission is required to leave the house, and only essential activities are allowed. A form has to be filled stating the reason for leaving the house. Outdoor exercise is permitted for one hour per day, as is walking the dog. Those who go for a walk cannot go beyond 1 kilometre from their homes.

Penalties for defying lockdown orders – EUR 135 to 3,700, as well as imprisonment of up to 6 months.


(population 8 crore)

Lockdown deadline – April 20

What is not allowed – Rules vary from state to state, but measures in the country are currently less strict than in Italy, Spain, or France. Restaurants that do not offer pick-up or food delivery have been ordered closed. Except for people who live together or families, groups of more than 2 are banned. Some states, such as Saarland and Bavaria, have more stringent rules.

What activities are allowed – Strict social distancing measures are in place, but people are allowed to leave their homes for fresh air and are not confined to their homes. Solitary exercise is allowed, but keeping a 1.5-metre distance with others is mandatory.

Penalties for defying lockdown orders – Rules depend on states. In Baden-Württemberg, fines up to EUR 25,000 can be imposed, according to DW.

United Kingdom

(population 6.6 crore)

Lockdown deadline – April 13

What is not allowed – Movement has been severely restricted. Public gatherings, funerals, ceremonies are banned, as are groups of more than 2 people, except for those who live together.

What activities are allowed – People can leave their homes for availing essential services. One form of exercise, such as running or bicycling, is permitted. So far, people have not been required to carry permission for leaving the house.Penalties for defying lockdown orders – GBP 60 for the first offence and GBP 120 for the second offence. Those refusing to comply can be arrested.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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