A lockdown is a social distancing intervention that aims to minimise physical contact between individuals and groups in order to reduce transmission of a communicable disease . Social distancing measures are typically introduced in an attempt to reduce and/or delay the peak of an epidemic/pandemic, to minimise the potential for surges in healthcare utilisation and to protect vulnerable groups. In the context of COVID-19, the World Health Organization has encouraged use of the term ‘physical distancing’ instead of social distancing to highlight that the aim of this intervention is only to reduce physical contact, not social contact which is often still possible through telephone and video calls, and social media . There are a range of physical distancing measures, which can be broadly categorised as operating at the individual (eg, to support self-isolation of confirmed or suspected cases) or population levels (eg, closing of schools or workplaces).
Sheikh, A., Sheikh, Z. & Sheikh, A. 2020, 'Novel approaches to estimate compliance with lockdown measures in the COVID-19 pandemic', Journal of Global Health, 10(1), article no: 010348. https://doi.org/10.7189/jogh.10.010348