World blockade to combat COVID-19

Many countries in Asia, Europe and America have taken measures to blockade, close borders or apply curfew to prevent the COVID-19 epidemic.

Yesterday, March 17, the Philippine Stock Exchange and the Philippine Banking Association announced to stop trading bonds, securities and currencies until having new notices, becoming the first country to close the financial market to combat the COVID-19 epidemic, according to Reuters.

Restricted travel, curfew

The announcement came a day after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte required nearly 55 million people on the main island of Luzon, including the capital Manila, to stay home for a month. The Luzon blockade order, effective March 17, does not allow people to work or use public transportation.

Mr. Duterte warned those who combat the blockade order would be arrested. However, the new measure still allows people to leave home to buy supplies and go to work in some fields, according to AFP.

In Malaysia, the government will begin to take a partial blockade from March 18 to 31, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP). Specifically, Malaysian citizens will be banned from traveling abroad and all companies will be closed, except for food and staple stores. Visitors are restricted from entry into Malaysia, but foreigners are still allowed to leave the country.

On March 16, French President Emmanuel Macron called on people to stay home for 15 days from March 17, except to go buy food, go to work or see a doctor. People who violate this travel restriction order will be fined up to 135 euros (3.5 million). The government will deploy 100,000 police, set up checkpoints to enforce travel restrictions. Meanwhile, the military will mobilize support troops to take COVID-19 patients to the hospital.

In the US, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said that since the evening of March 16, all unnecessary retail and entertainment activities in the state were closed after 20 hours. Unnecessary and non-emergency travel is also limited from 8 pm to 5 am the next morning, according to Reuters. Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez asked all residents to stay indoors 24/7 until March 30. This is the first US territory to apply drastic anti-COVID-19 measures, according to AFP.

In Ecuador, President Lenin Moreno announced that he would impose a curfew order from the evening of March 17 and suspend most normal activities.

Close the border

Also from yesterday, the EU closed the border to the rest of the world for 30 days. The decision was made by European leaders on the morning of March 16. Under the ban, the exempted subjects are people who work in the fields of medicine and science related to COVID-19.

In Latin America, Colombian President Ivan Duque said this country closed the border on March 17, which could last until May 30, according to Reuters.

TASS also yesterday reported that Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a decision to impose a ban on entry to foreign nationals and non-nationals from March 18 to May 1. The ban does not apply to diplomatic staff, members of official delegations, holders of diplomatic passports and some other subjects.

Similarly, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau yesterday announced they would close the border to non-citizens or permanent residents of the country. However, Mr. Trudeau said that US citizens, diplomats, and some other subjects are exempt from the ban, according to SCMP.

Last month, a North Korean health official told Choson Sinbo or the government of this country would maintain a ban on entry to foreigners until COVID-19 disease could be diagnosed, treated and cured in the right way.

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