People around the world continue to flout coronavirus regulations

Western governments haven't been quick to implement the lockdown measures that were implemented by China when the outbreak began, and instead have issued recommendations and advice to citizens.

Beachgoers enjoy a sunny day at Bondi Beach despite growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sydney (photo credit: REUTERS/LOREN ELLIOTT)
Beachgoers enjoy a sunny day at Bondi Beach despite growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sydney
(photo credit: REUTERS/LOREN ELLIOTT)
As governments around the world scramble to implement measures to stop the continuing spread of the novel coronavirus, many people continue to flout quarantine and social distancing regulations that are being put into place.
In Italy, authorities locked down affected "red zone" areas in the north in the beginning of the outbreak and extended the lock down to the entire country on March 9 as the virus spread. Even with the threat of a $232 fine and six months' prison time, hundreds of thousands of Italians have been given citations for flouting the ban and a Chinese Red Cross official said last week that the measures weren't strict enough and stricter measures were issued as the death toll rose.
After a weekend during which people continued to flock to parks, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson instituted a partial lockdown on Monday, only allowing people to leave their homes for "very limited purposes," such as groceries or exercise. Police will enforce the new rules.
Nick Chater, Professor of Behavioral Science at Warwick Business School, told CNN that the new measures didn't go far enough, explaining that western leaders had been "very mixed in their messaging."
"When people are being advised quite gently to do something, I don't think one should view them as being necessarily outrageously unreasonable in going ahead and doing it anyway," said Chater.
"Because the message they're implicitly getting is it isn't all that important, because if it was really important, we tell you. So we don't say things like, 'we advise you to stop at red lights, we advise you to drive on this side of the road' ... We just say you just have to. If you don't, you're breaking the law," explained Chater.
Western governments haven't been quick to implement the lockdown measures that were implemented by China when the outbreak began, and instead have issued recommendations and advice to citizens to practice social distancing.
Germany implemented a "contact ban" instead of a full national lockdown, with Chancellor Angela Merkel saying that the country would ban all gatherings of over two people, excluding those living together, in order to "reduce contact," according to CNN.
Despite a state order to avoid close contact with other, California beaches, hiking trails and parks were crowded over the weekend.
While government officials continue to call rule-breakers "selfish," "arrogant" and "insensitive" and social media users have called those ignoring social distancing measures "Covidiots," Chater told CNN that "there's a huge communication failure."
"We've been looking at China, we can also look at Korea, we can see that there are strategies that actually do work, so it's not purely theoretical," explained Chater.
While in China a heavy lockdown was implemented, in Korea, there was more freedom of movement, but there was also vigorous testing on a massive scale. "Probably a combination of those strategies is required," said Chater, according to CNN.
While more and more countries are implementing additional social distancing measures and punishments for breaking those measures, Chater urged leaders to make the measures "mandatory" in order to make sure they're effective.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to dramatically increase restrictions on movement and has drafted an order to allow no travel except for work, food, medicine and other essentials to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The restrictions, which were announced on Monday, will last for seven days from the time of approval by the government. Individuals found flouting the new restrictions, expected to be approved by ministers during a late-night conference call, will be subject to a fine.

Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman and Eytan Halon contributed to this report.