Measures Against the Spread of COVID-19: Simultaneous International Action and Lockdown Postponement

Takaharu Ishii


This study discusses city lockdowns in response to the outbreak of COVID-19.

It concludes that simultaneous lockdowns are optimal when there is a high number of travelers from abroad and that either independent or simultaneous lockdowns are preferable when there is a high number of people traveling internally from rural to urban areas.

When the number of infected people is low, the government should respond by requesting self-restraint. Generally, however, policymakers have the incentive to postpone lockdown measures.

If there is significant inward travel from abroad, leaders may hesitate to implement a lockdown because there is a chance that infection is already spreading due to the fact that infected people from other countries have already flown in; this means that lockdown measures of that kind, even if done in a hurry, would not accomplish very much. If there is significant migration from rural to urban areas, leaders may hesitate to implement a lockdown because these kinds of measures in urban areas hinder local employment and destroy domestic supply chains.

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