How the response to COVID-19 influenced the number of lock openings globally
COVID-19 has challenged governments around the globe to act in the best possible way during a pandemic. Each country manages its protocol in a different way. Needless to say, this has an influence on the number of COVID-19 patients. Since SALTO KS is a cloud-based access control solution, able to provide insights with help of real-time data, we have tried to analyse the people’s behaviour during the outbreak with the help of the number of lock openings. We focus on questions such as: ‘are the rules of the national lockdown being obeyed?’ and ‘is there a correlation between an increase in COVID-19 patients and the number of lock openings?’.
The graphs below show lock openings from the beginning of week 9 (24th of February) when all countries were still operating at 100% even though the Chinese authorities, where the outbreak started, had already defined the virus in early January.
Among the countries that are at the top of decreased lock openings are Spain, with 8% of normal lock openings, Italy (11%) and France (6%). While these countries faced a steep drop of lock openings, other countries stayed moderately equal, such as The Netherlands (47%) and Sweden (66%).
Below you can read our observations of the more extreme cases.
It started with a tourist from Germany that was hospitalized with the Coronavirus when she visited the Canary Islands. At the beginning of February, she was released and declared healthy. Despite the high hopes that she would be the first and last victim, a second case soon followed. At the beginning of March, the Coronavirus made her first (male) victim in Valencia, Spain. This victim was the first of the now over 14.000 deaths. As the second country with the highest ranks in the world (besides the USA), it makes sense the lock openings dropped quickly from a high 87% at the beginning of March to 24% around the 16th of March when the first death was declared.
Until the end of February, the people of Italy were instructed not to change their behaviour. We can see the lock openings significantly dropped (from 100% to 48%) around the 9th of March (week 11) when the country withdrew their initial instructions and went into full lockdown. Sadly, Italy now has exceeded China as the country with one of the highest death toll (besides the UK and the United States). With an exhausted healthcare system and the lock openings not dropping to 0% but staying at a quite high 16%, we assume this is due to the many healthcare institutions that remain open during the lockdown.
A country that dropped heavily in lock openings in the short time span of a week was France. Despite President Macron encouraging citizens to practice social distancing, the lock openings stayed at a baseline rate until the middle of March. Then, due to high death rates, a lockdown was issued on March 17th. The steep drop in lock openings is evident on the graph below, with lock openings going from 100% to 14% in the matter of a week.
In mid-March, the number of lock openings decreased from a sky-high 94% to 59%. This is correlated with President Trump’s words on the 13th of March when he officially declared the virus to be a national emergency, eight weeks after the U.S. confirmed its first case of Coronavirus.
China started the lockdown in December and is now going back to the new ‘normal’. This has everything to do with the quick and thorough response of the country. In contrast to other countries, it seems China was able to stop the outbreak fast. This strategy also came along with the decision to close the borders, so Chinese citizens got stuck abroad. With a steep drop of openings at the beginning of the year, the lock openings are slowly getting back to normal as one of the first countries around the world. However, the total lock openings have not reached 50%.
Since the Netherlands enforced a ‘smart lockdown’ the lock openings stayed relatively high. About 50% of lock openings were decreased even at COVID-19’s ‘worst’. By having the population exposed to the virus in a controlled pace the Dutch citizens developed a basic level of immunity. While schools, universities, bars and restaurants were forced to close, citizens were only advised to work from home. Additionally, the country did not impose national travel restrictions; this explains the still relatively high number of lock openings.
With roughly 60% of lock openings at the lowest point, Sweden’s lock openings did not decrease as much as the other countries. This percentage has to do with Sweden not forcing any type of protocol regarding the outbreak, except the message that the government trusts their citizens to proceed with common decency: washing hands, staying home and keeping the physical and social distance. While this approach resulted in the Swedish economy being less affected, it also led to higher death rates than in the neighbouring countries. The reason for the high death rate might be attributed to more high-risk residents contracting the disease, such as the elderly.
A few countries maintained a high level of lock openings, which can be linked to the various protocols the respective countries maintained during the outbreak. Countries that have maintained a high level of lock openings are known for their herd-immunity strategy to keep large parts of society open.
The purpose of this article is to investigate lock openings during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic by country. We also provide short explanations of the respective country’s physical/social distancing regulations. However, SALTO KS does not assume causation between the reduced lock openings and amount of Coronavirus infections and/or deaths. This data is derived only from sites with SALTO KS access control systems, which are not necessarily representatives of other sites in that country. High instances of lock openings might be from sites providing essential services, such as grocery stores and health care facilities, or simply residential buildings. Above findings are solemnly to inform and are based on the regular operations at SALTO KS. All anonymous data is collected from our SALTO locks- and systems and will remain anonymous and will neither be shared nor sold.
Find out the policies SALTO Systems is wielding in the light of COVID-19 here.
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