A containment measure that restricts access to and isolates individuals and families from other members of the community in emergency situations to ensure their safety.

Lockdowns can be prompted by a range of threats to human safety and security, such as a shooter at large in a neighborhood to a pandemic.

During COVID-19 lockdowns, of varying degrees, have been implemented globally as a health mitigation strategy to flatten the curve,  that is to reduce the rate at which the virus spreads through the population. In a total lockdown, people are required to stay indoors, leaving their homes only when unavoidable, such as to get essential services. Borders between countries and within countries are usually closed and there are curbs on passenger travel by air, road, and by public transport.

Commercial establishments are closed, except those providing essential services and commodities. In some countries like South Africa, there was a total ban on alcohol and cigarettes. India and China implemented total lockdowns for a specific period of days or weeks with the help of police forces, in an effort to slow down community transmission of SARS-CoV-2. However, In some countries state overreach became prevalent during COVID-19, drawing criticism from communities. This is when states became over-zealous in enforcing lockdown regulations, resulting in the (unnecessary) curtailment of citizens’ freedoms.

A controlled lockdown is one where neighbourhoods or households with infected members are cordoned off into a containment zone. A secure perimeter or cordon sanitaire is set up and foot and vehicular traffic are controlled at key entry and exit points by the police.

Rolling lockdowns have been proposed as a strategy to protect both the health of the population and the economy in low-income countries. This involves alternating between applying and lifting different types of interventions to control viral spread.



Epidemiology Infectious Disease Prevention Transmission


Containment measuresCOVID-19Essential services/activitiesFlattening the curveCordon SanitairePandemicSARS-CoV-2