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Psychological Effects of Pandemic Control Measures

Introduction

The COVID-19 pandemic broke out in China in December 2019, and by March 2020 has affected almost all countries around the globe causing national governments to introduce a range of unprecedented measures. As for now, nearly half of the world’s population is on lockdown endorsed to control the spread of the virus (World Health Organization, “COVID-19 Situation Report – 72” 2). The purpose of this paper is to discuss the isolation measures, their efficiency in controlling the pandemic, and their psychological effect.

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Pandemic Control Measures

The first country to introduce quarantine measures was China, where the virus first broke out in December 2019. The province of Hubei, where the virus originated, was put on a two-month lockdown isolating it from the rest of China, and a range of strict measures was imposed all over the country. They included the cancellation of all sports and cultural events, a ban on private transport, closure of non-essential businesses, remote working measures, and control of public movement. The drastic measures proved to be successful, as the number of COVID-19 cases has been gradually reducing since the introduction of the quarantine, and the country is slowly returning back to normal (World Health Organization, “China’s COVID-19 Response”). China’s success in managing the pandemic encouraged other countries to adopt the same approach and introduce a similar range of measures.

The quarantine measures are mainly aimed at the prevention of the person-to-person transition of the virus. As a first response, many governments and air carriers canceled and reduced the number of flights to and from the affected regions and imposed travel restrictions of varying intensity, up to a total border closure. However, as the virus had already been spreading among the local communities, more severe measures needed to be introduced to control the pandemic. The list of these measures put together by the World Health Organization includes “flexible work arrangements, distant learning, reducing and avoiding crowding, closure of non-essential facilities and services, staying-at-home measures and movement restrictions” (World Health Organization, “COVID-19 Situation Report – 72” 2). Many businesses had to switch to remote work, increase the usage of online communication platforms, revise work schedules, introduce social distancing measures on worksites and reduce the number of employees. Many retail outlets were forced to close down or turn to home delivery. The quarantine has dramatically changed the daily life of millions of people all over the world.

The Effects of Pandemic Control Measures

With the pandemic control measures constantly changing all aspects of everyday life, their effects are yet to be fully researched and examined. While the measures are generally believed to be reasonable and efficient, their economic and social impact is hard to predict. With the communities’ primary focus being on the COVID-19 control and prevention, other aspects of people’s lives have moved to the background having to adapt to the changing environment and face a number of inconveniences.

Social isolation provides many challenges that people all over the world have to face. The first is employment problems, as many people have lost their jobs, are unable to work due to the quarantine, or have been forced to work in an unfamiliar environment. As Zaharieva states, “keeping a job and earning a living has become uncertain, especially for those who are already in a precarious situation, leading to greater levels of stress and anxiety” (Zaharieva). The stress of not being able to resolve business issues, the uncertainty of the market situation, communication difficulties, and the challenges of self-organization all add up to the pressure and create an increased level of stress for those who work at home.

The second problem is the feeling of loneliness and isolation that people under the quarantine have to face. It is especially dangerous for those who live alone, have no close friends or relatives, and have troubles communicating over the internet. The reduction of social contacts is mostly felt by the elderly, and the more isolated a person is, the more stress and anxiety they experience (Adam). Combined with the difficulties of contacting a doctor or psychotherapist, the increased sense of loneliness can lead to a number of mental health problems, depression, and the aggravation of chronic illnesses. Even for young and healthy people, being deprived of external social contacts for weeks can be a challenge.

These conclusions can be illustrated with my personal experience. I am a security guard working at a plant, and I am one of the people who are required to work during the quarantine. Most of my immediate family also continues to work. I think that it is very good in terms of my mental health, as I do not have to experience the effects of isolation. Having to communicate with my colleagues, I do not feel alone and stressed out by the quarantine.

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I think that people who stay at home have to live through a great deal of stress and anxiety being deprived of their habitual way of life and daily routine. Being forced to stay at home, follow the news, and communicate with their friends and colleagues only by means of online tools, they have little else to discuss as the spread of the virus and the rumors connected with it. Although neither I nor my relatives have been abroad or made contact with people who might be affected by the virus and we feel no immediate danger, the pandemic of social media panic is still affecting us to some point. Nevertheless, I understand that all these measures are necessary and the most important thing now is to stay healthy and prevent any exposure to the virus.

With the COVID-19 control and prevention being the primary international task, it is also necessary for national governments to focus on the problems that people living under the quarantine have to face. As Zaharieva notes, “the impact of isolation and loneliness should not be underestimated or fall to the bottom of politicians’ lists of priorities as inaction now will lead to high human and financial costs later on” (Zaharieva). Several measures can be introduced, such as the reform of the healthcare system, the organization of psychological support lines and volunteer campaigns, and the development of online social tools. The possibility to consult a health professional or get psychological help can be of great benefit to people experiencing increased stress and anxiety. It can also help to reduce the long-term effects of the pandemic and contribute to the recovery of national communities after the quarantine.

Conclusion

In the reality transformed by the pandemic and the quarantine measures aimed to prevent the spread of the virus, people all over the world have to face a number of challenges. Isolated working conditions combined with the lack of social contacts cause people to experience an increased feeling of stress and anxiety, and even those who continue to work face some difficulties in organizing their daily routine. It is considered one of the government’s priorities to address the problems faced by the people under quarantine and introduce a number of measures to help them live through it with the smallest possible consequences.

Works Cited

Adam, David. “The Effects of Physical Isolation on the Pandemic Quantified”. The Scientist, 2020. Web.

Zaharieva Radost. “The Dangers of Social Isolation During a Pandemic”. ESPA, 2020. Web.

World Health Organization. “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Situation Report – 72”. World Health Organization, 2020. Web.

World Health Organization. “China Shows COVID-19 Responses Must Be Tailored to the Local Context”. World Health Organization, 2020. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 13). Psychological Effects of Pandemic Control Measures. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/psychological-effects-of-pandemic-control-measures/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 13). Psychological Effects of Pandemic Control Measures. https://studycorgi.com/psychological-effects-of-pandemic-control-measures/

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"Psychological Effects of Pandemic Control Measures." StudyCorgi, 13 Jan. 2022, studycorgi.com/psychological-effects-of-pandemic-control-measures/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Psychological Effects of Pandemic Control Measures." January 13, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/psychological-effects-of-pandemic-control-measures/.


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StudyCorgi. "Psychological Effects of Pandemic Control Measures." January 13, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/psychological-effects-of-pandemic-control-measures/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Psychological Effects of Pandemic Control Measures." January 13, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/psychological-effects-of-pandemic-control-measures/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Psychological Effects of Pandemic Control Measures'. 13 January.

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