Covid-19 insights from around the world

As the UK enters week 6 of lockdown measures, we look at how other countries are handling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Comparatively, many countries have adopted the lockdown measures we see here in the UK with others resisting lockdown measures altogether.

Additionally, some countries have begun to transition out of lockdown with varying methods to varying degrees.

Here, we have charted their progress starting with the UK.


The UK went into lockdown on March 23rd.

On April 16th, Dominic Raab, previously deputising for Boris Johnson added another 3 weeks onto lockdown measures to again be reviewed on May 7th.

The current restrictions include one form of exercise per day, infrequent shopping for necessities, working from home unless a job dictates otherwise, no gathering in public places, all businesses closed unless the business has been identified as a key service amongst other more minor restrictions.

The police were issued a 3-page document to advise on what is a ‘reasonable’ excuse to leave the house.

A so far unofficial plan is a relaxing of lockdown measures through a traffic light system: red; partial lift. Amber; extended freedoms. Green; wider freedoms.

At time of writing, the UK has 135,713 active cases, with 21,092 total deaths.


In contrast to the UK and many other countries, the Swedish Government took the decision to keep large parts of society open.

Essentially, there is no lockdown in Sweden with an emphasis being placed on the ‘herd immunity’ approach that the UK contemplated implementing at the start of its outbreak.

All businesses have remained open with citizens voluntarily social distancing.

The difference between the UK and Sweden is how its population is dispersed; outside of the capital Stockholm, the Swedish population is sparse which naturally deters the spread of the virus.

The capital is the epicentre of the Swedish outbreak.

At time of writing, the country has seen 2,194 deaths with 15,647 active cases.

New Zealand

The country brought in some of the most stringent lockdown restrictions in the world.

The country reacted early on in the pandemic when it saw only a few dozen cases.

New Zealand closed its borders and enforced quarantine of all arrivals into the country.

As well as the above, it also enacted extensive testing and contact tracing.

From the 26th March, it closed beaches, waterfronts and playgrounds as well as offices, schools, restaurants and bars.

In comparison to the UK, the country is one of the most remotely located in the world and its borders easily sealable.

At time of writing, the country has 239 active cases, with 19 deaths total.


From today, the Swiss have started a three-phase plan to ease lockdown measures.

The lockdown of Switzerland was implemented by its government on March 16th with the country being one of the most efficient achieving one of the highest per capital testing rates of any country.

It has also led the way on emergency coronavirus loans for small to medium enterprises.

The first phases which starts today, will see re-opening of hair salons, florists, physiotherapists, medical and dental offices, gardening stores and so on.

Wearing facemasks is said to become obligatory with supermarkets being able to revert back to selling non-essential products.

The second phase, due to be actioned on May 11th, would see primary schools re-open as well as all stores and markets.

The third phase due on June 8th would see all secondary schools re-open as well as universities and the possible re-opening of entertainment and cultural facilities.

At time of writing, Switzerland has 5,299 active cases with 1,640 total deaths.

Spain, Italy & France

According to Johns Hopkins University, these three countries have the highest number of Covid-19 confirmed cases in the world after the US.

Italy was the first European country to instigate lockdown measures in March with Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte saying that manufacturing could restart on the 4th May.

He also stated that schools would however not reopen until September.

At time of writing, Italy has 105,813 active cases with 26,644 deaths.

On the 26th April, Spain announced its lowest daily death toll since the 20th March of 288.

On Sunday, children under the age of 14 were allowed to venture outside once again after a 6-week lockdown period.

They are now allowed out for 1 hour per day between 09:00 and 21:00 but to stay within 1km of their home.

Fernando Simon, director of the Spanish Health Alert and Emergency Co-ordination Centre, said:

“For the first time in a long time, we are below 300 (deaths).

“Although it may be hard to give these statistics, it’s a figure which indicates a clear, positive direction in the evolution of the epidemic.”

Public parks still remain of limits to the Spanish.

At time of writing, Spain has 85,069 active cases, with 23,521 deaths.


Germany has concentrated its efforts on intense testing using the South Korean model to help flatten the curve of new infections.

The President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany’s public body in charge of the country’s response to infectious diseases, said on the 20th March that domestic laboratories were able to conduct as many as 160,000 tests per week.

In comparison, Britain was able to carry out roughly between 10,000 tests per day in mid-March.

Germany however, did have an early start in combatting the virus; on the 16th January, German scientists had created an efficient test which proved reliable at detecting the virus.

This was before the WHO concluded the virus could be passed from person to person.

At time of writing, Germany has 38,132 active cases, with 5,976 deaths – dramatically lower than its European neighbours mentioned above.


The country now has over 1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus which is approximately a third of the global number of cases.

It has been reported that several US states are reopening to attempt to revive the economy despite the daily number of infections continuing to rise.

Health experts have warned that coming out of lockdown too soon will invoke a second wave of the virus.

On Monday, Georgia allowed residents to dine at restaurants and also use movie theatres again.

Minnesota and Mississippi, with states in between, began to also ease restrictions.

Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Georgia had already eased restrictions prior to the above states.

A record 26.5 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since mid-March.

Forecasts by the Trump administration show that the unemployment rate could hit 16% or more in April.

At time of writing, the US has seen 1,010,507 cases, with 814,542 of these being active cases. The US has had 56,803 deaths.


The virus originated in Hubei province, in the city of Wuhan, purportedly at a wet market within the city.

Some reports state that the virus was detected in humans as early as November 2019, with health officials in Hubei province downplaying the outbreak.

On the 23rd January, the Chinese Government imposed a lockdown in Wuhan and surrounding cities which affected roughly 57 million people.

As the notice to lockdown the city was issued, an exodus from the city occurred with 300,000 people leaving to neighbouring provinces.

Subsequently, the rest of the country was locked down with restaurants, bars and sporting arenas closing indefinitely.

Only supermarkets remained open with temperature checks in place on entry and exit from apartment complexes and shops.

The wearing of face masks outside became mandatory.

On the 8th April, Wuhan removed its lockdown with the Chinese Government enacting a lockdown exit strategy;

We previously reported on technology that the Chinese Government has rolled out with contact tracing and augmented reality being used to track infections.

At time of writing, China has 648 active cases with 6 new cases being reported yesterday. Total deaths in China stand at 4,633 although many are sceptical regarding the validity of these numbers.