As more countries impose COVID curfews, scientists ask: Do they work?

As more countries impose COVID curfews, scientists ask: Do they work?

New York: With coronavirus infections rising and a contagious new variant threatening to accelerate the pandemic, France has implemented a stringent 6pm-to-6am curfew. Citizens nationwide are sequestered indoors, and businesses must close down.

In Quebec, Canadian officials imposed a similar restriction earlier this month, running from 8pm to 5am. It has frayed nerves: Notably, a woman who was walking her boyfriend on a leash at 9pm has argued that this was permitted during the curfew, surely one of the pandemic’s most unexpected moments.

The question for scientists is this: Do curfews work to slow transmission of the virus? If so, under what circumstances? And by how much?

A curfew requires people to be indoors during certain hours. It is often used to quell social unrest — many cities imposed curfews during the George Floyd protests this summer — and following natural disasters or public health emergencies.