India has become the latest country to order a nationwide lockdown with Prime Minister Narendra Modi warning that "many families will be destroyed forever" if the country fails to get to grips with its COVID-19 outbreak over the next three weeks. India is shutting down despite having relatively few cases, 519 infections and 10 deaths, compared to other countries like Italy and Spain who have substantially more. 1.3 billion people are going to be affected and the lockdown is set to last for 21 days.
Many other countries have already been locked down for days or weeks. Restrictions range from extremely strict in France where movement outside requires a signed document to a looser arrangement in Germany where people are permitted to leave their homes, though they are not allowed gather in groups of more than two people. For everyone, the experience is frustrating but very necessary in order to slow the spread of the virus and flatten the curve. For the sake of their mental health, people in many countries, including badly-hit Spain and Italy, have been attempting to lighten the mood in various ways such as balcony music sessions while socializing has been confined to FaceTime, Zoom, Skype and other platforms.
While the situation certainly isn't easy for anyone, a thought has to be spared for those struggling in small homes where balancing remote working with familial responsibility becomes hugely challenging. Recent data regarding average living space in different countries is surprisingly difficult to track down and German newspaper Zeit.de managed to put an interesting list together from various sources back in 2014.
It focused on seven different countries, not all of which are actually experiencing a lockdown at the moment. While Americans have the most living space on average with 807 square feet or 75 square meters, people in China have to make do with 323 square feet or 30 square meters. Even though the experience of being stuck indoors for weeks on end has proven unpleasant in China, the strategy has proven successful with COVID-19's spread seemingly curbed there. It has been reported that some states in Nigeria are imposing stricter regulations in response to the pandemic and that the country is moving towards a full lockdown. It had the smallest average living space in the analysis at just 65 square feet or 6 square meters.