If some do not hesitate to cry out for “dictatorship”, the health instructions in Quebec remain relatively permissive compared to what other democracies in the world have applied at one time or another during the pandemic.
In Spain, for example, it was not even allowed to leave your home to do a simple jog during the first confinement, which lasted almost two months in the spring of 2020.
In this country, one of the most bereaved in the world, the population was only allowed to travel for essential shopping or to go to work, when teleworking was impossible.
What’s more, the army has been deployed in the streets to enforce sanitary regulations and the curfew.
The Legault government is not the first to use this measure to limit the spread of the virus.
In the state of Victoria, Australia, a curfew was enforced for three weeks last August as winter in the southern hemisphere hit and the number of COVID-19 cases spiked.
In the state’s largest city, Melbourne, it was forbidden to be more than three miles from his residence. In addition, the population was only allowed to exercise for a maximum of one hour per day.
In France, similar rules have been applied intermittently since March. Citizens had for weeks to complete a certificate to be able to leave their homes.
The latest curfew has been in effect since Saturday. It is imposed throughout France from 6 p.m., two hours earlier than the one we have been living in Quebec since January 9.
In the small town of Treviolo, in northern Italy, a drone was tracking down containment refractories and measuring their temperature remotely. “Warning! You are in a forbidden zone. Get out immediately, ”said a mechanical voice from this drone with thermal sensors, also used to identify possible night-time violators of the confinement.
Mask at all times
The regulations on face coverings are also much stricter in France than with us.
The mask has been imposed outside in large cities since this summer.
However, like Quebec public health, the French authorities tended to minimize the benefits of the mask, at the start of the health crisis. But today, that little piece of fabric has become the norm. So much so that most presenters and guests on radio now have their noses and mouths covered.
In fact, Quebec is far from being the place in the world that straddles the face covering the most.
Just think of the FFP2 medical mask, with duckbill, which will soon become compulsory in grocery stores and public transport in Austria and in some German cities.
Germany is currently facing a second wave which is wreaking much more havoc than the first. Consequently, schools, even primary ones, remain closed in some regions.
It is the same in England, where the famous variant continues its progression.
China: confinement in dictatorship
Of all the confinements that have been imposed in the world, none was as liberticidal as the one to which the inhabitants of Wuhan, China, where the COVID-19 pandemic began.
In winter 2020, the population could not even go out to go shopping, however essential they might be. The authorities have adopted extremely coercive measures, with strict confinement of very large areas, massive screening and surveillance by drones.
The neighborhood committees of the Communist Party, which had lost their influence since the country’s liberalization in the 1980s, resumed service and had the task of distributing food to the confined.
“It would be impossible here to put all these measures in place. There are no neighborhood committees, there are no cameras, it is not the same mentality either. The notion of collective good is much more important in China, ”answers political scientist Loïc Tassé, a specialist in China, to those who firmly believe that Quebec is following this path.
“People who say that Quebec is a dictatorship is that they don’t know that, a dictatorship”, continues the one who is also chronicled in the “Journal de Montreal”.
No mask? 50 push-ups in Bali!
Foreigners caught by authorities without masks on the Indonesian island of Bali have been reprimanded and forced to push-ups.
In videos shared on social media this week, tourists in shorts and t-shirts can be seen performing, and doing push-ups in the tropical heat, watched by masked law enforcement officers.
It has been mandatory in Bali since last year to wear a mask in public places to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
But dozens of foreigners have been arrested without masks since the start of the year, law enforcement officer Gusti Agung Ketut Suryanegara said. “First they say they are not aware of this regulation,” he told AFP.
“Then they say they forgot it, their mask was wet or damaged.”
More than 70 people were fined 100,000 rupees (CAN $ 9), but around 30 others had no money on them and were fined with push-ups.
Those who did not have masks on them had to do 50 push-ups and those who wore them inappropriately, 15 push-ups.
Indonesians from Bali, a predominantly Hindu island, in the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, where in other regions have also received this sanction.
In Singapore, tracking systems have made it possible to track citizens in an individualized manner, under the pretext of the fight against COVID.
In Guinea, the government banned all demonstrations citing the fight against COVID-19. Alpha Condé was invested president in mid-December for a third term in the presence of a dozen African heads of state, after the repression of opposition demonstrations that have killed dozens of people since the end of 2019.
In Nigeria, police and military violence in the wake of health measures have left several dead.
By the end of November, “more than half of the world’s countries (61%) had adopted anti-COVID measures of concern from a democratic and rights perspective. [de l’homme]”, According to the NGO International Idea.
In 2020, the NGO Reporters Without Borders indicated that press freedom violations, encouraged by emergency laws, have flourished. Fourteen journalists arrested for monitoring the pandemic were still behind bars in mid-December in Asia (seven in China, two in Bangladesh and one in Burma), the Middle East (two in Iran and one in Jordan) and Africa (one in Rwanda).
South Korea and Japan: examples to follow?
South Korea and Japan are often cited as role models since the start of the pandemic.
With contamination rates among the lowest for developed countries, these two Asian democracies managed to curb the pandemic in the spring, without imposing containments as repressive as in Europe and America.
South Korea has described its approach as “trace, test, process”, relying heavily on new technology and massive testing.
Wearing a mask is as widespread as it is throughout East Asia, even among children.
“I think they had an advantage when they started. People in Japan and South Korea were already used to wearing the mask, even for a simple cold. Also, in Japan, we do not shake hands, we bow. There is already a distance “, nuance Loïc Tassé when one speaks to him about the South Korean and Japanese” miracle “.
These two countries are also seeing a rebound in the number of cases this winter, sometimes forcing them to adopt certain measures.
Sweden: a case apart
A black sheep in the fight against COVID-19 from the start, Sweden continues to stand apart, even if health rules have now been tightened.
Faced with a second wave, which also hits much harder than the first, gatherings, both public and private, have been limited to eight people.
Training rooms and stores remain open, but attendance is now limited.
While many believe that the Swedish model has been a failure, the Prime Minister of the country assured last December that the strategy of his government had remained the same, despite the change in tone observed.
Sweden has so far recorded a death rate similar to that of Quebec, but much higher than its Scandinavian neighbors.
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my [email protected] 1-800-268-7116