During the Covid 19 pandemic, each person in each household in my city was not allowed to leave their houses without permission.

If a family wanted to buy food, they had to call a soldier and give money to him so he could buy food for them.

It seems the sentence "The school was in lockdown" means "each person in the school can not get out of it, but they can move freely inside the school"

Similarly, the sentence "The city was in lockdown" might mean "each person in the city can not get out of the city or travel to another city, but they can move freely inside the city", which does not match the situation (I mentioned above) in which each person can't even get out of their house and they can only move inside their house.

O, I think the sentence "The city was in lockdown" alone is not enough to mean each person in the city can not get out of their house.

Do we need to make it clearer by saying "the city and each of its households were in lockdown"?

Or can we say "each household in the city was in quarantine" even though many people didn't have Covid 19?

3 Answers 3


You are mixing the meanings of "lockdown" and "quarantine".

If a region is quarantined, then you can't enter or leave the region.

If a region is locked-down then there are rules regarding how people interact within that region. The sense of "lockdown" as a method for controlling an infectious disease didn't really exist 2 years ago.

If a school is in lockdown, that probably means that all the students are locked in their classrooms - for example, if a person with a gun has come onto the school campus.

If a city is in lockdown then there are rules about leaving your home (different countries had different rules) You don't need to say "the households in the city were in lockdown", but if you did it would mean the same.


In context, the word lockdown means:

a temporary condition imposed by governmental authorities (as during the outbreak of an epidemic disease) in which most people are required to refrain from or limit activities outside the home involving public contact

For this reason, "The city was in lockdown" is correct, since the condition was imposed on the city as a whole.

  • But sometimes "The city was in lockdown" might mean people in the city can not get out of it but can move easily in it, right?
    – Tom
    Feb 2, 2023 at 2:32
  • "The city was in lockdown" means that some kind of restriction on travel was in place; it doesn't refer to any particular kind of restriction.
    – alphabet
    Feb 2, 2023 at 2:36

I think you would have to qualify it somehow, otherwise Americans will assume that you are describing the types of restrictions that we had (which is to say, a general expectation that people will stay in their houses, but nobody is going to arrest you for taking a walk through your neighborhood).

Maybe something like "The city enforced full isolation" would be more appropriate?

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