Countries with coronavirus curfews: Saudi Arabia joins growing list

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Saudi Arabia has announced it is imposing a 21-day curfew effective Monday night, the latest country to impose restrictions on movement to try to slow the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus pandemic.

The new coronavirus, known technically as COVID-19, is spread primarily through human-to-human contact, although it also survives on surfaces. Health officials have warned that social distancing – where humans avoid unnecessary contact with each other – is necessary to prevent the disease from spreading even further.

Many countries have followed China, where the outbreak first emerged, and quacking locked down whole cities, forcing residents to stay at home. According to AFP statistics, at least 34 countries or territories have established mandatory lockdown measures ordering people to stay in their homes, accounting for some 659 million people, as of Monday.

However, other countries have been slower to impose restrictions – and in some countries, people are still mingling freely in large gatherings.

Here is the latest update of curfews in key countries across the world.

Countries with coronavirus lockdowns – or not

Algeria

Algeria has suspended public transport, closed cafes and restaurants, and banned public gatherings.

On Tuesday, it announced a curfew in the capital Algiers from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and a full lockdown in the town of Blida, the center of the worst outbreak in the country, with both measures starting on Tuesday and lasting for 10 days.

Argentina

Argentina has begun a compulsory lockdown until March 31. Citizens are only allowed to leave their homes for essential trips to pharmacies or supermarkets, and police are monitoring the streets.

Bahrain

Bahrain has introduced measures including the closure of theaters, gyms, and swimming pools, and schools and universities remain closed with employees encouraged to work at home.

However, the country has not yet imposed a nation-wide curfew as of Monday.

On Sunday, two MPs submitted a proposal to the government asking that it impose a partial curfew across the country.

China

China responded swiftly to the initial outbreak of the coronavirus in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, by imposing lockdown measures. Wuhan alone is home to 11 million people, all of whom were quarantined by authorities as transport to and from the city was closed.

Following the quarantine in Wuhan, tens of millions of people across various provinces in China – some hundreds of kilometers from the outbreak - were ordered to stay indoors in various measures.

But as the outbreak in China appears to have slowed, with authorities reporting only small numbers of new domestic cases each day, authorities have begun to ease restrictions and allow people back to work in Wuhan.

Colombia

Colombia is expected to introduce a lockdown on Tuesday

France

France has ordered people to stay at home except for essential tasks.

However, with citizens widely disobeying the rules, the government sent security forces into train stations on Friday to stop people from traveling into the countryside.

In Nice, the mayor has imposed a nightly curfew, while popular walkways in Paris have been shut.

Read more: ‘Listen, stop going out. Stay at home,’ says French doctor

Germany

Germany has banned gatherings of more than two people, except for families. The government is also reportedly weighing up implementing a nationwide curfew.

Greece

Greece announced that a curfew on all unnecessary movement would come into place as of Monday, 6 a.m. local time.

India

India launched a 14-hour long curfew on Sunday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an address to the nation last week urged citizens to stay indoors from 1:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. GMT - a move that he said would be a crucial test for a country to assess its abilities to fight the pandemic.

Footage showed deserted streets across the country of more than 1 billion people.

WATCH: The streets of Pune, India are empty during the nationwide 14-hour long curfew that Prime Minister Modi imposed to help combat the spread of the #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/NEqNyhc3f3

— Dr Ola Brown (@NaijaFlyingDr) March 22, 2020

Italy

Italy, one of the worst-hit countries by coronavirus, has gone into an effective shutdown. On Saturday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that all Italian businesses must close until April 3, with the exception of those essential to maintaining the country’s supply chain.