Medics wearing protective masks inside the novel coronavirus isolation ward of Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu | PTI
Medics wearing protective masks inside the coronavirus isolation ward of a hospital (representational image) | PTI
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New Delhi: From gendered curfew rules in Panama to Malaysia’s diktat allowing only heads of families to shop, several such unusual restrictions have been imposed across the world in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

The pandemic has claimed over 40,000 lives worldwide and many countries, including India, have imposed a lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of the infection. However, some countries have gone the extra mile, enforcing strange and unusual rules and restrictions.

ThePrint takes a look at some of them.

Only heads of households can shop in Malaysia

In Malaysia, the government has mandated that only the head of the household can shop for groceries and this has led to much confusion among men, prompting supermarket chains to come out with ‘shopping guides’ for them.

The Muhyiddin Yassin government had first imposed a lockdown on 16 March barring citizens from moving out of the country, foreigners from entering the country and restrictions were imposed in the form of a movement control order (MCO), prohibiting public gatherings of all kinds.

Then, on 21 March, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said that under the MCO only one representative of the family i.e. the head of the household will be allowed to go out and buy essential items.

After this order, men in Malaysia were seen flocking to supermarkets. A post by Facebook user Muzaffar Rahman, which shows these men wandering clueless in the supermarket aisles, has also gone viral. The supermarket chain Tesco even released a ‘shopping guide’ to help the “confused husbands”.

“To all the ketua rumah (heads of families), we understand that things may get confusing at times like this,” Tesco Malaysia’s Facebook post read.

Another post included a picture of a beaming man with a bag of groceries along with the caption: ‘Now All Husbands Can Shop’.

A screenshot of Tesco’s Facebook post

Also read: Why people believe false statements about coronavirus, or anything else


Gendered quarantine measures in Panama

The government in Panama, which has reported 1,075 coronavirus cases and 27 deaths, announced gendered quarantine measures Wednesday. Men and women will only be allowed to leave their homes on different days for two hours at time.

According to the quarantine restrictions, men will be allowed to go to the supermarket or pharmacy on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, while women will be allowed on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Panama’s Security Minister Juan Pino said that the absolute quarantine is essential to save people’s lives, however, it is unclear why the segregation was based on gender.

Only one form of exercise allowed in UK

In UK, which has emerged as a coronavirus hotspot in Europe with more than 25,000 confirmed cases and 1,789 deaths, the government has allowed only one form of exercise during the lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is himself in quarantine after contracting the virus, announced the lockdown on 23 March. Johnson furnished a list of activities allowed during the lockdown and this included, “shopping for basic necessities”, “providing care to help vulnerable people” and…”one form of exercise a day”. According to the UK government, only one form of exercise like running, walking or cycling will be allowed “alone or with members of your household”.

Parks will also remain open for exercise during this time, although gatherings will not be permitted.


Also read: Do masks help? Experts say even DIY masks are useful as Covid-19 is unrelenting


Social distancing or get arrested in Sri Lanka 

The Sri Lankan government’s ‘practice social distancing or get arrested’ order has raised quite a few eyebrows. The island nation, which reported its first death due to Covid-19 Saturday, has seen thousands of arrests after the government imposed a countrywide curfew.

The government also decided to provide door-to-door delivery of essential items. The police said that those without a curfew pass would be arrested and charged under the Quarantine & Prevention of Diseases Ordinance and the Code of Criminal Procedure.

So far, over 7000 people have been arrested for violating the curfew orders and over 1,700 vehicles have been seized.

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