Two years ago in March, life, as we knew it, changed as countries across the world announced strict lockdowns and other restrictions in view of the rising number of cases of Covid-19. As infections around the world surged fuelled by new strains of the coronavirus, including the latest Omicron variant and its sub-variant BA.2, many countries, including India, went back to reimposing lockdowns to curb their spread in 2021.
Here’s a list of countries across the world that imposed lockdowns in the last two years around this time:
Several countries in Europe and Asia and the US re-imposed restrictions from March 20, 2021, onwards to combat the new wave of infections.
France: About 21 million people in 16 areas of France, including Paris, were under a month-long lockdown as the country feared a third wave. Prime Minister Jean Castex said this was the only possible way to tackle the rising cases in the country.
Germany: In Germany, lockdown measures were put in place from March and they were extended until April 18. Night curfews and tighter restrictions, including a near-complete ban on house visits after 9 pm on socialising were ordered in Berlin for some groups.
The first lockdown was imposed in Germany on March 22, 2020. By April, the country recorded its 100,000th case.
Belgium: In 2021, Belgium reintroduced strict lockdown measures, with the government saying that schools would close and residents would have limited access to non-essential businesses.
US: The United States was the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, with over 1.4 million cases and 87,000 deaths. The government imposed a lockdown between March to April 2020.
Brazil: Rio de Janeiro in Brazil extended a set of restrictions in March 2021 as hospitals across the city were recording an occupancy rate of 90 per cent.
India: On March 25, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown in view of the rising number of Covid-19 cases.
During the lockdown, India witnessed thousands and thousands of migrant labourers walking hundreds of kilometres along highways to reach their native villages as public transport stopped plying.
Almost a year later, India experienced a renewed surge in infections with many states reportedly in the grip of a second wave.
Netherlands: In 2021, the Netherlands made news for heated protests against a partial lockdown imposed following a spike in infections.
Italy: Italy was one of the first European countries to impose a national lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 in 2020. In 2021, fresh restrictions were imposed in March amid a rise in cases.
The country’s health minister Roberto Speranza said he hoped the strict measures would help combat the surge in cases and permit the government to ease restrictions by the second half of spring.
Philippines: The Philippines government, too, ordered a lockdown in and around Manila as the capital struggles to cope with a surge in infections in March 2021.
China: Covid-19 was first detected in Wuhan, China. While China controlled the spread of the virus in 2021, in March this year, an outbreak of new cases forced the government to impose a lockdown. China banned most people from leaving a coronavirus-hit Changchun in northeastern China’s Jilin province and mobilised military reservists as the fast-spreading “stealth Omicron” variant fuelled the country’s biggest outbreak.