Here's the meaning behind the three main approaches taken by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The common measures against the coronavirus are imposing a lockdown, quarantine and supporting a faltering economy with stimulus packages.

Italy, Spain, France and the US, are using lockdown and quarantine methods to prevent spreading the infectious Covid-19 to healthy people.

US President Donald Trump announced a $1 trillion economic stimulus package to safeguard some key sectors amid the outbreak.

Here's what the three methods mean. 


A lockdown is an emergency protocol which usually prevents large gatherings and allows governments to contain the spread of highly contagious and deadly diseases. It's one of the effective measures in times of epidemics. 

Imposing a lockdown is generally a military response to a law and order crisis. It's more like a curfew, an old French word, which was signalled by the ringing of a bell alerting people that it was time to put out their hearth fires. Over time, curfew meant getting people off the streets at night and into their homes, often during times of civil unrest. Recently, India put the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir, with a population of 12 million people, under a lockdown for over 200 days, coupled with the world's longest internet shutdown, starting from August 5. 

In a lockdown period, governments close schools, places of entertainment, public institutions and public transportation. Residents are asked to stay indoors, only allowed to venture out for one or two hours so that they can buy essential supplies from the market. The local authorities issue curfew passes to people who need to step out in case of emergency. 

People breaking the rules of the lockdown could be fined or even sent to prison.


The origin of quarantine goes back to 14th-century Europe, in which the monarchs passed decrees of isolating people suspected of having contracted diseases to protect coastal cities from epidemics. When ships arrived in Venice from infected ports, they were required to wait 40 days before landing. This kind of practice was named quaranta giorni which means 40 days in Italian. 

Today's quarantine is generally about 14-days long. It means restricting the movement of people and goods that are likely to be infectious. The method is largely applied to people who show symptoms of having acquired the virus-like Covid-19 or have a travel history of coming from a place where infections have spiked. People are usually quarantined in hospitals, hotels or homes.  

Economic stimulus package

To ease or minimise the negative effects of pandemics, states at times come up with economic packages to salvage the economy from free fall. 

The packages intend to kick-start economic growth by changing fiscal and monetary policies. The stimulus packages consist of lowering interest rates, increasing government spending and unveiling bailouts for certain sectors which are mostly affected.Tax exemptions are part of such packages.