In the fight against the corona infection rate, many European countries temporarily restricted freedom of movement: curfews applied to individual areas, age groups and certain times. ARD correspondents report.
Spain: 18 districts of Madrid and Catalonia sealed off
Exit restrictions have almost become normal in Spain during the Corona crisis. Right at the start of the pandemic last March, the government took a drastic step: it imposed a strict curfew on the entire country. Only those who had a valid reason were allowed outside the door: the way to work, to the supermarket or to the doctor. The curfew was in effect for a full seven weeks. From the beginning of May, the Spaniards were allowed to leave their apartments for one hour a day, until mid-June the regulation was gradually relaxed.
Since then, Spain has been doing this: Only the areas with particularly high numbers of corona cases are cordoned off. This can be regions, individual cities or just certain parts of the city. It’s been the same in Madrid since Monday: 18 districts are closed. Residents are only allowed to move within these zones and only leave them if they have an important reason. The region of Catalonia will seal off all 947 municipalities from tomorrow, including the metropolis of Barcelona. By Oliver Neuroth, ARD Studio Madrid
Ireland: Exercise only in a five-kilometer radius
Ireland is back in lockdown, and that means among other things: staying at home, only driving to work when it is absolutely necessary, practically no private visits and: practicing sports only within a radius of five kilometers. These restrictions also applied to the lockdown in November. At that time, the 14-day incidence value at the beginning of the lockdown was 302 per 100,000 inhabitants, at the end it was 78. However, it cannot be proven whether this reduction is directly related to the restriction.
Strict restrictions also apply again in Great Britain. The government has not drawn a kilometer radius, but it has also asked people to leave their house or apartment no more than once a day – and only for really urgent matters: for example, if you cannot work from home or to a doctor’s appointment. Sports are also allowed to a limited extent: no more than once a day, no more than one other person and only outside. Trips within the country or to the outside require special justification. The schools are closed again. Supermarkets and grocery stores, pharmacies, garden centers and churches remain open. By Thomas Spickhofen, ARD-Studio London
France: Out of the house only with a written certificate
In France, during the first corona wave in spring, the following was true for eight weeks straight: Only those who have a good reason and who have a written certificate with them are allowed to leave the house. Exercise or gasping for breath were such a reason, but were only allowed to take place once a day, a maximum of an hour and a maximum of one kilometer from your own home. Since France is centrally organized, the rule also applied throughout the country; even in areas where there were hardly any corona cases. The protest was overall very limited in view of the dramatic images from the intensive care units in some parts of the country.
When the numbers shot up again at the beginning of November, the government temporarily reactivated the strict rules from spring. With the difference that this time all daycare centers, kindergartens and schools have remained open. So parents and students had another good reason to leave the house. Nevertheless, the numbers fell within a month from almost 50,000 to only around 10,000 new infections per day. At the moment the restrictions on movement are lifted and the schools are open. The new infections were last at just under 12,000 a day, and the trend is rising slightly. By Marcel Wagner, ARD-Studio Paris
Italy: “I stay at home” decree and curfews
In Italy, the limit was 200 meters: For weeks in lockdown, people were not allowed to move further away from their homes in spring. For example, if you wanted to jog, like a goldfish in a water glass, you had to constantly run the permitted 200 meters back and forth if you didn’t want to get into trouble with the police. Exceptions to the strict lockdown rules were only provided for commuting to work, the doctor or shopping. Significantly, the regulation issued by the government was called Decreto “Io resto a casa”, translated as the “I stay at home” decree.
Also currently, to limit the second Covid-19 wave, the Italian government is massively restricting freedom of movement in the country. Meter numbers are no longer given, but sports and walks are only allowed near your home. Driving to a park on the other side of town is not an option. It is also forbidden to leave the city limits. After today’s Epiphany, the regulations will be relaxed somewhat. The ban on driving from one region to another remains in place – as does the nationwide curfew: From 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., people in Italy have to stay at home. Exceptions are only made for those who have to go to work or to the doctor, for example. By Jörg Seisselberg, ARD Studio Rome
Turkey: Only one family member is allowed to shop at the weekend
Turkey faced the first corona wave with curfews on weekends. People over 65 and under 20 were only allowed outside the door for a few hours on weekdays. Cafes and restaurants were only allowed package service and schools and universities were closed. Wearing masks in public was an obligation very early on.
After easing over the summer, these measures apply again now. To make matters worse, there is a nightly curfew between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. There was a four-day curfew over the turn of the year. Shops stay open during the day, except on weekends. Then only grocery stores are allowed to open temporarily. Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., one family member is allowed to walk to the nearest shop. The rules are mostly followed – otherwise there is a risk of fines of around 100 euros.
The health authorities have identified larger family gatherings and celebrations such as weddings as the main sources of infection. These were largely prevented by the new rules. The daily number of cases of infection could thus be more than halved. By Christian Buttkereit, ARD-Studio Istanbul
Russia: Exit permits via QR code
In the evening, Moscow’s mayor Sergej Sobyanin announced the rule via social media, and from midnight it was in effect in the Russian capital: curfew. Only those who walked the dog (maximum 100 meters), had to go to the doctor or took out the rubbish were allowed out. Shopping was allowed in the nearest store. Such corridors had to be applied for, permission was sent to the cell phone via QR code.
The Muscovites submitted, but whoever could, obtained a special permit. There are said to have been more than three million of them in the 13 million metropolis. Nevertheless, Moscow looked like a ghost town for weeks. Technical means ensured that most of them stayed at home, using geodata analysis from mobile phones and face recognition. More than two hundred thousand cameras hang in the city. And: The cheaper semester tickets or the free Renter tickets for local transport were blocked without further ado after appeals to voluntary restraint had little fruit. Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Krasnoyarsk and other larger cities in Russia also temporarily introduced QR codes or curfews.
The rapid increase in the number of infections in Moscow could not be stopped by the almost ten weeks of measures. However, experts from the Moscow Higher School of Economics calculated that without the draconian rules they would have turned out many times worse. The lockdown has been completely lifted since June, probably for economic reasons – just as surprisingly as it was when it was introduced. By Ina Ruck, ARD Studio Moscow