Are lockdowns a good way to deal with a pandemic?

woman peeping at window
Type: Vocabulary
Originally published on October 14, 2020 and last updated on February 4, 2023

In many countries in Europe and around the world a lockdown was enforced in one way or another to try and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Some countries like Spain had a complete lockdown where you were not even allowed to leave your home to go for a walk, whereas the UK, for example, took a more relaxed approach where people were allowed to go out for walks and meet with close family but with restrictions in place.

One country, however, that did not enforce a lockdown was Sweden. You would expect that Sweden’s numbers for COVID-19 cases and deaths would therefore have been much higher, but they were actually similar and in some cases better than other European countries. Given these statistics, some are questioning the effectiveness of lockdowns and whether the negative effects of lockdowns outweigh the benefits.

Go through the vocabulary below with your students and ask them to try and use this vocabaulry where possible when discussing the different conversation questions.

Useful Vocabulary

Try and use the following vocabulary when answering the question. Click to look up the definition in the dictionary

  • lockdown (noun)
  • enforce (verb)
  • outweigh (adjective)
  • measure (noun)
  • spread (verb)
  • effectiveness (noun)
  • harm (noun)
  • harmful (adjective)
  • beneficial (adjective)
  • Overall (adverb)

Conversation Questions

  • Do you think lockdowns during a pandemic do more harm than good?
  • Was there a lockdown in your country during COVID-19?
  • How do lockdowns help during a pandemic?
  • What are the negative effects of a lockdown?
  • What alternative action do you think governments could take instead of a lockdown?
This conversation topic was prepared by Gregory

Gregory is a qualified TEFL teacher who has been teaching English as a Foreign Language (ESL) for over a decade. He has taught in-person classes in Spain and to English learners around the world online.