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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 310-313

Lockdown versus no lockdown: Strategies for COVID-19 and its impact on mental health and economy

Department of University and Higher Education, Imphal, Manipur, India

Date of Submission14-Nov-2020
Date of Acceptance17-Nov-2020
Date of Web Publication24-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ramananda Ningthoujam
Department of Physical Education, Health Education and Sports, DM University, Indo Myanmar Road, Imphal - 795 001, Manipur
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/cmrp.cmrp_61_20

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How to cite this article:
Ningthoujam R. Lockdown versus no lockdown: Strategies for COVID-19 and its impact on mental health and economy. Curr Med Res Pract 2020;10:310-3

How to cite this URL:
Ningthoujam R. Lockdown versus no lockdown: Strategies for COVID-19 and its impact on mental health and economy. Curr Med Res Pract [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 25];10:310-3. Available from: http://www.cmrp.org/text.asp?2020/10/6/310/304832

Dear Editor,

A third of the global population is on coronavirus lockdown (LD). To contain the virus, most of the countries (population; 727 crores approx.) adopted a nationwide lockdown (LD) and some countries (population; 28 crores approx.) are testing no LD (NLD) strategy [Table 1].
Table 1: Countries battling coronavirus with no lockdown

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Nevertheless, there are also 15 countries with zero corona cases: three Asian countries, two African countries and ten Oceania countries [Table 2].
Table 2: COVID-19-free countries

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The approach to combat COVID-19 differs from country to country.[13] According to Tufts University,[14] countries, such as Western Europe, are ready to fight the disease and transit to a digital economy. Other countries including the USA, Australia and Canada were less prepared for the battle but well prepared digitally.

Countries such as Italy, India and South Africa were ready to fight the pandemic but not ready for digital economy. Still, other countries, including Turkey, Ireland, Japan and Mexico, were neither prepared nor ready for digital economy.

  Lockdown Strategy Top

India, France, Italy, the USA and the UK have implemented the world's largest and most restrictive mass quarantines. Italy is the first European country to impose a nationwide LD. It is believed that the highest number of death rate in Italy is due to its negligence in the first stage of the pandemic.[15] LD strategies seem to be helpful in those countries with large population to flatten the curve on coronavirus. However, countries such as India,[16] the USA[17] and Germany[18] are facing a huge challenge in controlling the public because anti-LD protesters are demanding an end to stay-at-home orders.

  Impact on Mental Health Top

The LD strategy is causing fear, anxiety, loneliness and depression, leading to suicide among COVID-19 patients. Roy et al., 2020,[19] reported the need to address social attitude, anxiety and perceived mental healthcare in the Indian population during the pandemic. Chowdhury[20] also claimed that the number of deaths by coronavirus in NLD countries is lower compared with that of the LD countries.

A number of suicide cases of COVID-19 patients have been reported from around the globe.[21],[22],[23],[24] As per news report, 50% increase in suicide rates was seen in the past 2 months compared to the same period last year.[25]

According to McKelvey,[26] 'most crimes in the USA are comparatively low as most people are at home due to government LD orders. However, police are concerned about the rise in domestic abuse as people when confined at home are subject to short-temper'. Scott Decker, a criminologist expert, says, some of the violence has 'shifted to inside homes'.

The LD strategy also increases worldwide recessions which increase in criminal behaviours among youth. Mari Rege et al., 2020,[27] in their study explained the effect of job displacement and criminal behaviour among Norwegian men separated from their place of employment during a mass layoff. They found a strong evidence that displacement increases criminal activities as time availability increases.

  Impact on Economy Top

According to the International Monetary Fund (2020), the COVID-19 pandemic will severely impact growth across all regions. Facts and figures can be found at https://blogs.imf.org/2020/04/14/the-great-LD-worst-economic-downturn-since-the-great-depression/#post/0. According to McKinsey (a US-based management consulting firm), a prolonged LD, such as the one in Wuhan, could decrease India's gross domestic product by 8%–10%.

  No-Lockdown Strategy Top

Countries such as South Korea,[28],[29] Taiwan[30] and Hong Kong[31] are battling the coronavirus pandemic while keeping its economy up and running with the NLD strategy and are winning the battle against COVID-19. One of the countries is Taiwan which kept its coronavirus infection very low (<500) due to advance preparation and drills. Daily production of mask in Taiwan increased from 1.8 million to 8 million and has been referred to as 'Taiwan's Mask Miracle'.

These countries have learnt a lesson during the SARS epidemic in 2003 and now are fighting coronavirus with early preparation, widespread testing and deployed technology for widespread contact tracing. With their advanced technology, infected individuals' interactions and travels were retraced and exposure risks are made available. The support of public, and dedication from frontline corona warriors, made it possible. They believed that a nationwide LD not only decreases economic crisis but also increases mental health challenges such as fear, stress, depression, anxiety, loneliness and suicide.[32]

The drawback of NLD strategy is that the chances of spreading the virus are higher. Recently, countries such as Pakistan,[33] Bhutan[34] and Singapore[35] were forced to call a nationwide LD after they failed to flatten the curve of COVID-19 with the NLD strategy.

To conclude, both these strategies have their own pros and cons. The debate on the approach to handle the COVID-19 pandemic, that is NLD or LD, is still conflicting. It seems that NLD strategies are effective in those countries with a previous experience of an epidemic, where the public are supportive and ready to comply with the government order. In countries with a large population like India and Italy, LD strategies seem to only slow down the spread of the virus. However, both strategies need public support and compliance with government order. Besides, mental and financial support also plays an important role.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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Financial Times. Japan Rejected Lockdown Because virus will Resurge, Says Expert UK, 2020, April 23, Available from: https://www.ft.com/content/9bac4ad5-22e3-4bcd-b07b-8a248fe44465. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 18].  Back to cited text no. 2
Erdbrink T, Anderson C. Life has to go on': How Sweden has Faced the Virus without a Lockdown. The New York Times; 28 April, 2020. Available from: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/28/world/europe/sweden-coronavirus-herd-immunity.html. [Last accessed on 2020 Jul 08].  Back to cited text no. 3
Campbell C. South Korea's Health Minister on How His Country Is Beating Coronavirus without a Lockdown. TIME, Shanghai; 30 April, 2020. Available from: https://time.com/5830594/south-korea-covid19-coronavirus/. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 30].  Back to cited text no. 4
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Tufts University. New Research: Many Countries Severely Lag in Preparedness for Post-Pandemic, Socially Distant Digital Economy. New wise: Corona News Source; 2020. Available from: https://www.newswise.com/coronavirus/new-research-many-countries-severely-lag-in-preparedness-for-post-pandemic-socially-distant-digital-economy/?article_id=731572. [Last acessed on 2020 May 14].  Back to cited text no. 14
DHNS. Negligence in Initial Stage Proved Costly for Italy. Mangaluru: Deccan Herald News; 13 April, 2020. Available from: https://m.dailyhunt.in/news/india/english/deccan+herald-epaper-deccan/negligence+in+initial+stage+proved+costly+for+italy-newsid-n177996506. [Last accessed on 2020 May 20].  Back to cited text no. 15
AFP. Anti-Lockdown Protesters Clash with Indian Forces. New Straits Times: Indian Security Forces Clashed with Angry Residents; 9 May, 2020. Available from: https://www.nst.com.my/world/world/2020/05/591055/anti-lockdown-protesters-clash-indian-forces. [Last accessed on 2020 Jun 26].  Back to cited text no. 16
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  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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