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 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 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 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 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 is expected to introduce a lockdown on Tuesday


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


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


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

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


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.

However, workers at factories in Lombardy were set to go on strike on Monday, arguing that their factories should be closed.

Read more: Coronavirus: Italian actor forced to stay in quarantine with sister’s dead body


Iran was slow to respond to the outbreak of coronavirus in the country in February.

Having initially denied the extent of the outbreak in the country, Iranian officials have now set up checkpoints between cities and urged citizens to stay indoors.

“Iran is at a crossroads - if they take serious control measures now, they have an opportunity to hopefully contain the outbreak. But if they don’t, it’s just going to escalate,” said Yale University epidemiologist Dr. Kaveh Khoshnood, speaking last week in an interview with Al Arabiya English on Sunday.

Read more: Iran reaches coronavirus ‘crossroads,’ should implement lockdown: Yale expert

Video: Iranians in Tehran in coronavirus isolation play music from their homes


Iraq imposed a nationwide curfew until March 28 to fight the coronavirus.

Many of Iraq’s 18 provinces had already imposed their own local curfews.

Iraq first shut it 1,500-kilometre border with Iran about a month ago and deployed troops to enforce the decision.


Jordan went into a state of emergency this week with residents forced to stay at home.

Sirens were head over Amman on Saturday and several hundred people have since been arrested for leaving the house.

Anyone violating the curfew, which severely restricts movement beyond emergencies and essential services, would be jailed up to a year, the army said.


Kuwait established an 11-hour curfew from 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Saturday aimed at limiting public gatherings where coronavirus is spread via human-to-human contact. There were 176 confirmed coronavirus cases in Kuwait as of Saturday.

Anyone caught breaching curfew in Kuwait will be jailed for up to three years and fined 10,000 Kuwaiti dinars ($32,000) in line with new laws, according to the country’s deputy prime minister on Sunday.


Lebanon’s military and security forces deployed across the country Sunday after the government announced a clampdown on those not complying with orders aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The country has not yet declared a state of emergency but authorities have been fining people for disobeying orders not to leave their homes and soldiers set up roadblocks in the street.

Read more: Lebanon’s security forces deploy to enforce coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country would go into lockdown for a month from the end of last week.


Oman banned public gatherings in the country on Sunday. Anyone caught violating the new measures will be prosecuted, according to the government announcement.

The Sultanate also shut currency exchanges and urged people in the private sector to work from home.


On Sunday, Qatar banned serving food in restaurants and cafes, allowing only delivery services and takeaway. The government also halted all forms of public transport as part of the country’s efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

The emirate previously closed schools and universities, as well as shops and bank branches in shopping malls, but has not gone into full lockdown.

Qatar also said it was closing down part of its Industrial Area for 14 days, with critics voicing concern about the spread of coronavirus among migrant laborers in the country.


Rwanda has implemented some of the strictest measures in Africa by banning all “unnecessary movements” as of Sunday.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz has ordered a curfew from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. for a period of 21 days, effective from Monday evening, to limit the spread of coronavirus in the Kingdom.

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior will be taking the necessary measures to implement the curfew, reported the official Saudi Press Agency on Monday.

Authorities have urged citizens to stay at home during the curfew and only to venture outside in extreme cases during other hours.

Employees of vital public and private sectors are exempt from the curfew, including people working in the food, military, security, media, and health sectors.

Footage from the city of Jeddah showed the ban in place, with near deserted roads.

Read more: Social gatherings cause 33 percent of coronavirus infections in Saudi Arabia

South Korea

South Korea was one of the first countries to experience an outbreak but unlike China, it did not opt for a lockdown.

Instead, South Korean authorities focused on mass testing for the virus. The country tracks anyone who has encountered a confirmed case and tests them, amounting to 270,000 people according to data from Worldometer website.


Spain has imposed tight restrictions on freedom of movement in the country under a state of emergency. On Sunday, Spain’s prime minister said his government would ask parliament to extend the state of emergency for a further 15 days until April 11.

Spanish residents have been asked to stay at home, although several videos have surfaced of authorities having to force people to stay inside. One video shows Spanish police dragging a British woman out of a pool.


Tunisia’s President Kais Saied ordered a general lockdown and restricted public movement on Friday. The measure came into effect on Sunday and is set to last until April 4.

United Arab Emirates

Authorities in the UAE urged people to stay inside except for necessary or work-related reasons on Monday.

The country has not enforced a nation-wide curfew, but it has closed facilities ranging from gyms and museums to bars and shisha cafes.

On Monday, the UAE announced it would be closing shopping centers, malls, and markets with some exceptions for two weeks starting in 48 hours. The two-week period would be subject to review and evaluation, added state news agency WAM.

Restaurants were ordered to shift to delivery only on the same day.

United Kingdom

The UK has generally been slower to close spaces and introduce lockdown measures than other countries.

The UK government initially adopted a phased approach, with the government’s senior scientific adviser suggesting a potential goal was to achieve “herd immunity” by allowing 60 percent of the population to be infected by and become immune to coronavirus.

However, the government has since changed its track and introduced social distancing measures. In response to criticism, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the closure of all pubs and restaurants on Saturday.

The government also issued advice that anyone over 70 or with a preexisting health condition stay indoors.

Nevertheless, people were still seen gathering in large crowds over the weekend.

United States

US states covering nearly one third of the population have ordered citizens to stay at home.

In New York, the shutdown of all non-essential services began on Monday.

The day before, US President Donald Trump said he would deploy the National Guard in the states of California, New York, and Washington.

In Florida, authorities closed beaches after thousands of people celebrated “spring break.”

However, the US has not yet declared a nationwide lockdown or curfew.

With Reuters, AFP, The Associated Press.

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