Which country has the strictest COVID-19 lockdowns?

The coronavirus pandemic has caused chaos globally, infecting more than 25 million people and killing 848,000 since it was discovered in late 2019.

As a result almost the entire world has entered into and out of varying degrees of lockdown to curb the spread of the disease. 

On Sunday night Auckland's three-week alert level 3 lockdown relaxed, allowing people to gather in groups of up to ten, travel domestically and eat at cafes and restaurants.

However globally, many places are still under strict precautions to curb the spread of the virus. But which countries have the strictest ones?

The Government Response Stringency index (GRSI) is a tracker developed by researchers at Oxford University. It uses nine indicators including school and workplace closures, travel bans and the shutdown of public events to rank lockdown strictness on a scale of 0 to 100 with 100 being the toughest. 


According to the GRSI the northeast African country of Eritrea currently has the strictest COVID-19 restrictions in the world. It is the only country which ranked above 90 on the scale at the time of writing.

According to humanitarian information website reliefweb, the government introduced containment measures in March.

These include the suspension of all trading activities and markets, the postponement of all court sessions and the prohibition of all domestic and foreign travel except for "urgent and unavoidable purposes".

All citizens must stay at home unless they are considered essential. In order to cushion the economic blow of such heavy restrictions the Eritrean government has postponed all electricity, water and phone bills and told landlords they must freeze rent payments.

The country currently has 30 active cases of COVID-19.


Measuring at 89.81 on the GSRI Bolivia has extended lockdown measures until September 30.

The country currently has more than 116,000 confirmed cases and 4966 deaths. 

Schools and other public events (including religious ceremonies) are all suspended according to the Bolivian government's website. A curfew from 8pm to 5am has been placed across the country from Monday to Friday and anyone entering the country must first test negative for COVID-19.

Masks are mandatory outside of the house and those who fail to comply will be fined.


China ranks at 81.94 on the GRSI but according to posts on social media some regions are under harsher restrictions than others. 

People from Xinjiang in Northwest China have posted online claiming they have been chained to buildings when they attempted to leave their homes - however these have not been verified. 

Other footage posted appears to show people yelling from their apartments in backlash against the lockdown.

The video could not be verified but a notice posted online from one residential compound and seen by The Guardian warned that anyone who participated in the "roaring" activity on August 23 had committed an "illegal act".

Residents of the autonomous region's largest city, Urumqi, have been banned from leaving their homes since July 18, reports ABC.

More than 900 cases of the virus have been recorded in Xinjiang since the outbreak began, however no new cases of the virus have been recorded since August 16.

Xinjiang's Chinese Communist Party chief Chen Quanguo called on local officials to "build a strict prevention and control network" in response to the outbreak, in coordination with the party, the military, police and civilian groups.

Chen has previously been identified as the architect of Xinjiang's crackdown on Uyghur people.

AP reports authorities eased some restrictions last week, now allowing some residents to walk in their compounds, and a limited few to leave the region after a bureaucratic approval process.