COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker

Keep Civic Space Healthy

This tracker monitors government responses to the pandemic that affect civic freedoms and human rights, focusing on emergency laws. For information about our methodology, click here.

For more information and analysis by region, click here.

Country with entries

The COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker is a collaborative effort by the ICNL, ECNL, and our global network of partners, with generous research support from the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin. This is an ongoing effort, and we welcome you to email us at and to share additional resources.

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Introduction Date


United Kingdom

Coronavirus Act 2020

The Act gives UK authorities emergency powers to address the coronavirus pandemic, including the power to detain individuals deemed "potentially infectious" and put them in isolation facilities. Individuals who fail to comply may be subject to a £1,000 fine. The Act also enables the government to restrict public events and other gatherings to prevent or otherwise control the spread of coronavirus. Under the Act, surveillance warrants may be in place for up to twelve days before they must be reviewed by judicial authorities, up from the current three days. The Act must be renewed by parliament every six months.

(See primary source or citation here)

Introduced 26 Mar 2020

Issue(s): Assembly, Emergency, Surveillance, Privacy, Movement

Type: law

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United Kingdom

Nationwide Stay-at-Home Order

Pubs, bars and restaurants are closed with exceptions for takeaway and delivery services. Residents are ordered to stay at home, with exceptions for education, for work that cannot be performed remotely, for exercise and outdoor recreation, for medical needs, for shopping, and for caring for vulnerable people. Non-essential shops are ordered to be closed. The measures are temporary and will end in early December. 

(See primary source or citation here)

Introduced 31 Oct 2020

Issue(s): Assembly, Movement

Type: order

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This is an ongoing effort, and we welcome you to email us at and to share additional resources.