Effect of national and local lockdowns on the control of COVID-19 pandemic: a rapid review

Epidemiol Prev. Sep-Dec 2020;44(5-6 Suppl 2):60-68. doi: 10.19191/EP20.5-6.S2.104.


Objectives: to describe and compare the effectiveness of national and local lockdowns in controlling the spread of COVID-19.

Methods: a rapid review of published and grey literature on COVID-19 pandemic was conducted following predefined eligibility criteria by searching electronic databases, repositories of pre-print articles, websites and databases of international health, and research related institutions and organisations.

Results: of 584 initially identified records up to 5 July 2020, 19 articles met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review. Most of the studies (No. 11) used the reproduction number (Rt) as a measure of effect and in all of them areduction of the estimated value at post-intervention period was found. The implementation of lockdown in 11 European countries was associated with an average 82% reduction of Rt, ranging from a posterior Rt of 0.44 (95%CI 0.26-0.61) for Norway to a posterior Rt of 0.82 (95%CI 0.73- 0.93) for Belgium. Changes in infection rates and transmission rates were estimated in 8 studies. Daily changes in infection rates ranged from -0.6% (Sweden) to -11.3% (Hubei and Guangdong provinces). Additionally, other studies reported a change in the trend of hospitalizations (Italy, Spain) and positive effects on the doubling time of cases (Hubei, China) after lockdown.

Conclusions: results of this rapid review suggest a positive effect of the containment measures on the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, with a major effect in countries where lockdown started early and was more restrictive. Rigorous research is warranted to evaluate which approach is the most effective in each stage of the epidemic and in specific social contexts, in particular addressing if these approaches should be implemented on the whole population or target specific risk groups.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; containment measures effectiveness..

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Americas / epidemiology
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • COVID-19 / transmission
  • China / epidemiology
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Communicable Disease Control / statistics & numerical data
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Forecasting
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Physical Distancing*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Quarantine* / statistics & numerical data
  • SARS-CoV-2*