A reader emailed to ask the difference between “lockdown” and “lockup”. There is a difference between the two although many people confuse the meaning of “lockdown” and “lockup”. The simplest meaning of a “lockup” is to lock up someone in jail or to lock up your home before you go on vacation. Sports facilities and some parks in Hong Kong were also locked up at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. This means no one was allowed to use them. The simplest meaning of a “lockdown” is to restrict the movement of people for safety reasons. For example, Wuhan was in lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic. No one was allowed in or out for safety reasons.
When the virus spread to the rest of the world, many cities were in lockdown. Restaurants, bars, and even hair salons were closed. People were told not to go out. In the US, the words “lockdown” and “lockup” can also be used in different ways. For example, if there is a person with a gun shooting people inside a school, the school goes into “lockdown”. This means everyone inside the school is told to stay where they are and shut their doors. But if the person with the gun is outside the school, the school goes into lockup. This means no one can enter the school but activities inside the school continue as normal.
許多國家現在已經放寬了他們在新冠病毒全球大流行最高峰（at the height of）期間實施的封城（lockdowns）措施。全球各地的政府都明白，他們不能無限期地實施封鎖（lockdowns）措施。他們若是這麼做，其經濟就會陷入蕭條（sink into the doldrums）。習語"at the height of"在這裏是指最鼎盛、最高峰又或最嚴峻的時期。譬如，你可以說你的朋友在經濟不景氣最嚴峻（at the height of）的時期失業。習語"in the doldrums"是指死氣沉沉又或停滯的狀態。若一國的經濟"sinks into the doldrums"，那是指經濟將會陷入低迷以至蕭條的境地。
一位讀者在電郵問到，“lockdown”和“lockup”有何分別？雖然許多人會混淆了“lockdown”和“lockup”的意思，但二字確實有別。Lockup最簡單的意思就是將某人關在監牢裏，又或在你出外遠遊前，將住所門窗鎖好。香港的一些體育設施以及公園，在新冠肺炎疫情最嚴峻（at the height of）的時期也給關鎖起來，意即沒有人能使用。而lockdown最簡單的意思，就是因着安全理由，限制人們的活動。譬如，武漢在新冠肺炎疫情期間就被封城（lockdown）了，因着衞生安全理由，誰也不能進出。
當病毒蔓延至世界其他角落，許多城市都要封城（lockdown）。食肆、酒吧甚至髮廊都要關閉。人們被勸喻不要出外。在美國，“lockdown”和“lockup”二字也可以有不同的用法。譬如，若有人校園內槍擊其他人，學校就要goes into“lockdown”，意即緊急封閉校園，所有人留在原地及緊閉大門出入口；但若持槍的人是在校園外，那學校就 goes into lockup，意即沒有人能進入校園，但學校內的活動仍可如常進行。 中譯：七刻
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧